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:hi;.i:;::._    — .- __-   .y::-::; 

VOL.  I. 






IN  the  following  pages  I  have  nothing  to  tell 
of  Eastern  magnificence.  In  the  works  of 
God,  rather  than  in  those  of  man,  lies  the  in- 
terest to  be  found  in  the  somewhat  primitive 
part  of  the  Western  Deccan  where,  for  the  time 
being,  my  lot  was  cast.  Tempered  by  the  sea 
breeze,  its  climate  is  the  most  equable  and  de- 
lightful in  all  India.  Its  high  table-lands  are 
fertile  and  well  timbered,  its  protecting  ghats 
afford  mountain  scenery  of  the  wildest  and 
most  beautiful  description,  and  it  is  very  rich 
in  its  fauna  and  flora.  The  charms  of  nature 
are  scattered  around  with  a  beneficent  hand, 
and  its  strange  and  ancient  people  were  to  me 
a  fertile  source  of  interest. 

Such  were  the  attractions  which  combined 
with  the  fulness  of  my  family  life  to  make 
up  the  happiness  that  I  experienced  dining 
44  My  Year  in  an  Indian  Fort." 

Belgairm  Fort,  July,  1876. 





Voyage  to  Bombay — The  Hindoo — Unpromising  Com- 
mencement of  the  Voyage — Three  days  in  Torbay — 
Sunday  on  Board — Across  the  Bay  of  Biscay — The 
Sierra  of  Cintra — Gibraltar  Passed — The  Mediter- 
ranean — Algiers  —  Carthage  —  Tunis  —  Pantalaria  — 
Port  Said— Perilous  Position  of  the  Arabia — A  Day 
on  Shore — Land  of  the  Pharaohs — The  Suez  Canal — 
Pilgrims — Ismalia 1 


Chateau  Eugenie— Suez— The  Wells  of  Moses— The  Red 
Sea — Remarkable  Coral  Reefs— Island  of  Perim — 
Novel  Postman — Aden — Arabian  Dhowd — Signal  of 
Distress — Sea-beggars — Socotra — Flying  Fish — Arri- 
val at  Bombay — The  Esplanade  Hotel — Pamphlets— 
First  Aspect  of  Bombay — Equipages — Parsee  Women 
—Polo— The  Native  Town       ....        26 



Hindoo  Women — Arabian  Beauties — Rites  of  Betrothal — 
Funeral  Procession — English  Chambermaids  in  India 
— Flower -market — Jain  Establishments  for  Superan- 
nuated Animals — Drive  to  Malabar  Point — A  Brah- 
man Village — The  Esplanade — Island  and  Temples  of 
Elephanta — Description  of  one  of  the  Temples — The 
Three-faced  God — Sculptured  Figures — Rock  Temples 
— Curious  Ants'  Nest — Western  Ghats    .        .        49 


Journey  to  Belgaum  —  Railway  Travelling  —  Dyeing 
in  India  —  Wild  Scenery  —  Incline  of  the  Bhor 
Ghat — Overpowering  Heat — Sanitarium  for  Soldiers — 
The  Mahratta  Mountains — Peculiar  Features  of  the 
Indian  Landscape — View  of  the  Concan — Indian 
Legend — Karli — Death  of  Captain  Stewart — Camp 
of  Exercise — Founder  of  the  Mahratta  Kingdom — 
Itinerant  Merchants — Evening  in  the  Public  Gardens 
— A  Drive  by  Night — Poonah — Murder  of  Narazan 
Rao 72 


Travelling  Arrangements  in  India — The  Southern  Cross — 
The  Travellers'  Bungalow — Fakirs — Noble  Banyan- 
Tree — Fishing  in  India — The  Singadari — Orthography 
of  Indian  Proper  Names — Climate  of  Western  India — 
Ascent  of  the  Kamski  Ghat — The  Magellanic  Clouds 
— Crossing  the  Koo-i-nor — Arrival  at  Sattara — Ruins 
of  the  Fort — Labyrinths  and  Dungeons — Palace  of  the 
Rajah 99 



Re-engagement  of  an  Old  Servant — The  Old  Palace — 
Relics  of  Sevaji — Tale  of  Indian  Treachery — The 
Combat  with  Claws — Junction  of  the  Krishna 
and  the  Zena — The  Parsee  Tower  of  Silence — 
Religious  Ideas  and  Symbols  of  the  Hindoos — Festival 
in  Honour  of  Shiva — Hindoo  Sects — Turbans — The 
Savi — Condition  of  Hindoo  Women — Ornaments — 
Returning  from  the  Fair — Sattara  Monkeys — A  Jaina 
Temple— The  Burning  Ghat  ...        122 


The  Seven-Starred  Fort — A  Moment  of  Peril — Extensive 
Cemetery — Hindoo  Superstition — Fine  Idgar — Arrival 
at  Kolhopur — The  Rajah — Government  School — Death 
of  a  Young  Rajah  at  Florence — The  Gates  of  Kolhopur 
— The  Rajah's  Palace — An  Amusing  Carriage-load — 
An  Irate  Colonel — Accident  to  our  Carriage — Nipani — 
Cruelty  of  the  Desay — Soutguttee — Arrival  at  our 
Indian  Home 119 


Belgaum — Records  and  Traditions  of  the  Fort — Stormed 
by  Mohammed  Shah — Mahmoud  Gavan — Ismael  Khan 
Shah — Khoossan  Toork— Sevaji — Changes  of  Name  and 
Fortune — Besieged  by  a  Force  under  General  Monro 
— Garrison  at  the  Time  of  the  Mutiny — Execution  of 
the  Chief  of  Nargund—  Description  of  the  Fort — The 
English  Church — The  Station  Library — Favourite 
Spots — Architecture  of  the  Jaina  Temples       .         177 



Sect  of  the  Jains — Their  Opinions — Jaina  Saints — Archi- 
tecture of  the  Jain  Temples — Sena  Rajah — Legends — 
Decoration  of  the  Hall — Ornaments  in  Sculpture — 
Shrines — Spacious  Dome— Dedication  Plate — The 
Sacred  Cell— The  Second  Temple— English  Indiffer- 
ence to  the  Antiquities  of  the  Country — The  Musjid 
Safa — Concealed  Treasure — Curious  Relic — Memorials 
of  the  Past 200 


Trees  in  the  Fort — Consecration  of  Trees — The  Banyan- 
Tree — A  Patriarch  of  the  Forest — Peepul-Trees — 
The  India-Rubber  Tree — Ficus  Glomerata — Strange 
Peculiarity  of  Plants — Lofty  Cotton-Tree — The  Ja- 
mun— The  Champai— The  Cocoa-Nut  Palm— The 
Soap-Nut  Tree — Sandal- Wood  Tree — Acacia  Arabica, 
or  Babool  of  India — The  Golden  Mhune— Eucalypti 



Our  Bungalow — Building  in  India — Anglo-Indian  Words 
—Beautiful  Floral  Display— Tameness  of  Bird  and 
Beast — Buffaloes — Our  Establishment  of  Servants — 
Butler  and  Cook— The  Puttah  Wallee— The  Malee, 
or  Head- Gardener— Frequent  Demands  for  Holidays 
—Want  of  Privacy— Pretended  Christians— Expenses 
of  the  Table — Grafting  of  Mangoes — Provisions,  Fruit, 
and  Wine 235 


Difficulties  of  Driving— Red  Dust— Venerable  Groves- 
Temples  and  Dharani  Salas— The  Dheer's  Well— The 


Edgar — Churches  and  Chapels — Refuges  for  Lepers — 
The  Jack-tree — Jungle  Creepers — Drives  about  the 
Camp — Uses  of  the  Acacia-tree— The  Commissariat 
Lines — Intelligent  Elephants — Cultivation  of  Cotton 
— Camping  Parties — Fashionable  Resort — Scene  at 
the  Band  Stand — Dogs  Military  and  Civilian — Jam- 
bottee 266 


Old  Mosque— The  Nag,  or  Cobra  Tank— Sharpur— Popu- 
lation— Jewellers — Curiosities — Sacred  Stones — An- 
cient Pedigrees — Thugs — Garden  Parties — Travelling 
Merchants — Men  from  the  Cannara  Jungles — Plants 
and  Tame  Animals  brought  for  sale — Conjurers  and 
Snake-charmers — Indian  Jugglers  puzzled — A  Charm 
against  Violence  —  Mahomedan  Burying-places  — 
Amusements  of  the  Soldiers — Native  Troops — My 
First  Christmas  in  India  .        .         .         .        290 



Voyage  to  Bombay — The  Hindoo — Unpromising  Com- 
mencement of  the  Voyage — Three  days  in  Torbay — 
Sunday  on  Board — Across  the  Bay  of  Biscay — The 
Sierra  of  Cintra — Gibraltar  Passed — The  Mediter- 
ranean — Algiers  —  Carthage  —  Tunis  —  Pantalaria  — 
Port  Said — Perilous  Position  of  the  Arabia — A  Day 
on  Shore — Land  of  the  Pharaohs — The  Suez  Canal — 
Pilgrims — Ismiilia. 

A  START  for  a  far-distant  country  must,  even 
under  the  most  favourable  circumstances, 
be  accompanied  by  some  emotions  of  sadness. 
There  was  certainly  nothing  exhilarating  in  our 
departure  for  India.  Up  at  daybreak  on  a  foggy 
January  morning,  a  hurried  breakfast,  a  crush 
into  the  family  omnibus,  a  tedious  delay  in  a 
narrow  street  where  gas-pipes  were  being  laid 
down,  a  tramp  through  long  lanes  lined  by  bales 
and  boxes,  a  climb  up  a  greasy  ladder,  and  we 
stood  upon  the  dirt-begrimed  deck  of  the  Hindoo f 
VOL.  I.  B 


a  steamer  of  four  hundred  horse-power,  bound 
for  Bombay. 

Our  first  impulse  was  to  count  heads,  and 
these,  consisting,  in  addition  to  M.  and  myself, 
of  three  children,  three  nurses,  two  Irish  setters, 
a  terrier,  and  two  goats,  were  happily  found  all 
right.  Our  next  step  was  to  descend  and  see 
what  our  cabins  were  like,  and  having  satisfied 
our  curiosity  on  this  point,  we  felt  ourselves  at 
leisure  to  mount  to  the  upper  deck,  and  survey 
the  scene  presented  by  the  various  groups  as- 
sembled below,  our  companions  to  be  for  the 
next  five  weeks. 

All  had  a  subdued  manner,  and  some  looked 
just  slightly  cross,  as  I  have  no  doubt  we  also 
did ;  but  the  appearance  of  all  improved  under 
more  favourable  circumstances,  and  we  trusted 
that  our  visages  also  lighted  up.  The  scene 
upon  the  lower  deck,  and  alongside  on  the 
crowded  wharf,  was  dismal;  poverty  and  squalor, 
dirt  and  disorder,  reigned  supreme.  Everything 
seemed  to  have  a  leaden  hue,  and  a  stifling 
smoke-laden  atmosphere  enveloped  all.  My 
memory  dwells  but  on  one  bright  speck,  the 
cheerful  scarlet  of  a  petticoat  worn  by  a  woman 
who  was  waving  a  tearful  adieu  to  her  friends. 

The  ship  was  by  no  means  ready  for  sailing. 
She  had  only  been  in  dock  thirteen  days,  and 


the  bedding  was  damp.  In  my  cabin  I  found  a 
broken  cart  and  ninepins,  belonging  doubtless 
to  its  former  juvenile  occupant.  To  make  mat- 
ters still  more  deplorable,  the  weather,  after  we 
had  started,  was  almost  as  bad  as  it  could  be. 
We  made  scarcely  any  way.  The  captain 
passed  two  very  anxious  nights  on  deck,  and 
the  narrow  vessel — only  thirty-eight  feet  wide 
by  four  hundred  long,  built  to  pass  through  the 
Suez  Canal — rolled  terribly.  The  ornamental 
part  of  the  upper  deck  was  carried  away  by  the 
violence  of  the  sea,  and  the  berths  being  all 
more  or  less  wet,  we  were  very  miserable,  added 
to  which  I  had  a  private  grievance  of  my  own. 
Dogs  not  being  allowed  in  the  saloon,  my  poor 
Bustle  was  ruthlessly  ordered  off  to  Mr.  Needles, 
the  butcher,  under  whose  care  he  was  placed. 
How  I  used  to  struggle  over  the  wave- washed 
deck  to  feed  him,  and  impart  a  little  comfort  to 
my  desolate  favourite,  no  one  but  a  lover  of 
dogs  can  imagine.  The  poor  creature  I  really 
believe  would  have  died,  had  not  the  captain 
allowed  him  to  come  below,  in  order  to  enjoy 
the  sport  of  hunting  the  rats  which  infested  our 
cabins,  impudently  eating  our  biscuits,  and  nib- 
bling holes  in  our  clothes. 

It  was  not  long  before  Mr.  Bustle  became  quite 
a  favourite  with  the  good-natured  passengers, 

B  2 


who  called  him  Monsieur  Tourneur,  and  other 
pet  names.  We  lay  three  days  in  Torbay,  into 
which  a  number  of  other  ships  ran  for  shelter, 
among  them  a  fine  P.  and  0.  steamer,  also 
bound  for  Bombay.  Having  sailed  a  day  in 
advance  of  the  Hindoo,  she  had  been  roughly 
handled  by  the  waves,  and  was  obliged  to  put 
back.  With  the  exception  of  the  captain,  no 
one  went  on  shore,  and  he  paid  two  shillings 
for  a  boat  to  take  him  there  and  back.  Owing 
to  the  stormy  condition  of  the  sea,  he  had  to 
choose  the  right  moment  to  jump  in,  and  after- 
wards told  us  that  he  reckoned  the  distance  be- 
tween the  top  of  the  wave  and  the  trough  of  the 
sea  to  be  at  least  twelve  feet.  The  sight  of  the 
elements  at  war,  the  flashes  of  lightning  and 
the  peals  of  thunder,  were  most  exciting.  When 
the  white  squalls  came  on,  a  small  part  of  the  sea 
would  be  suddenly  covered  with  foam,  a  torrent 
of  rain  would  pour  down  upon  the  spot,  and,  as 
it  spread,  gradually  obscure  land,  sea,  and  sky, 
leaving  us  in  all  but  complete  darkness. 

Torbay,  I  understand,  is  very  dangerous  when 
the  wind  blows  from  the  west.  Captain  Cousins 
(our  captain)  told  us  that  once  when,  with  forty- 
seven  other  ships,  he  had  to  run  in  for  safety, 
the  wind  suddenly  veered  round  in  the  night, 
and  all  the  vessels,  with  the  exception  of  two, 


were  either  stranded  or  more  or  less  injured. 

In  spite  of  the  gales,  Sunday  brought  with 
it  a  young  clergyman  from  Torquay  to  conduct 
divine  service,  and  all  assembled  in  the  long 
saloon  to  take  part  in  the  religious  duty.  After- 
wards one  Sunday  on  board  was  precisely  like 
another.  The  ladies  assembled  in  fresh  toilettes. 
The  gentlemen  did  their  little  best  to  imitate 
them,  with  crisp  white  cuffs  and  collars,  and 
dandy  neck-ties  ;  but  it  was  really  a  pretty 
sight  to  see  the  Hindoo  sailors  muster  in  their 
stainless  cotton  dresses,  bound  round  the  waist 
by  crimson  silk  sashes. 

At  ten  o'clock  precisely  two  very  handsome 
copper-coloured  Bengalese  dived  into  a  cup- 
board, brought  forth  a  number  of  Bibles  and 
prayer-books,  and  began  to  rig  up  the  reading- 
desk.  First  they  produced  two  very  large 
chess-boards,  then  a  couple  of  bed-pillows  were 
fetched  from  below,  after  which  the  union-jack 
was  carefully  spread  over  the  erection,  which 
was  further  secured  by  a  long  thick  rope  coiled 
around  it.  The  service  commenced  with  the 
regulation  hymn,  including  the  verse,  "  I  have 
seen  the  works  of  the  Lord,  and  His  wonders  in 
the  deep,"  and  everyone  knows  the  beautiful 
air  to  which  those  words  are  set,  ending  with 
the  refrain, 


"  Oh  !  hear  us  when  we  cry  to  Thee, 
For  those  in  peril  on  the  sea." 

Always  touching,  this  hymn  was  doubly  so 
when  one  glanced  up  whilst  singing  it,  and 
looked  around  upon  the  solitary  expanse  of 
ocean.  No  land,  no  ships  in  sight,  no  human 
aid  to  help  us  in  distress.  In  such  circumstances 
the  whole  service  was  felt  to  be  doubly  impres- 

We  rolled  through  the  Bay  of  Biscay  without 
seeing  anything  of  the  coast  we  knew  so  well, 
and  kept  clear  of  Cape  St.  Vincent,  from  whence 
the  ship  usually  telegraphs  to  her  owners.  As 
we  pitched  and  staggered  on  in  the  dark  night, 
it  was  awful  to  think  of  the  depth  of  the  sea 
beneath.  When  at  seventy  miles  distance  from 
Cape  St.  Vincent  soundings  were  taken  by 
H.M.S.  Challenger,  a  depth  of  two  thousand 
live  hundred  fathoms  was  found — nearly  three 

The  first  land  we  sighted  was  the  great 
headland  at  the  mouth  of  the  Tagus,  the 
Sierra  of  Cintra,  as  the  Portuguese  call  it. 
Here  we  felt  a  sensible  change  in  the  tempera- 
ture, and  having  suffered  much  from  cold  in  the 
early  portion  of  our  voyage,  the  increased 
warmth  was  now  the  more  delightful.  On  the 
tenth   day  after  leaving  England  we    skirted 


the  coast  of  Morocco,  and  were  near  enough 
to  perceive  the  serried  tails  of  the  Great 
Atlas  range.  None  of  its  higher  peaks, 
which  are  eternally  covered  with  snow,  were 
visible.  The  great  mountain  range  extends  in 
an  oblique  direction,  far  inland,  and  as  the 
morning  sun  lit  up  the  bold  swelling  hills,  they 
looked  very  imposing.  Towards  evening  we 
had  on  our  right  the  perpendicular  white  cliff 
of  Trafalgar  Bay ;  and  in  the  distance  was 
the  rock  of  Ceuta,  in  the  centre  of  a  bay 
which  we  appeared  to  be  entering.  "  The 
Kock "  was  hidden  from  our  view  by  a  long 
range  of  nearer  hill. 

As  the  ship  had  no  time  to  call  at  Gibraltar, 
we  passed  it  late  at  night,  when  unfortunately 
there  was  no  moon.  We  saw  the  lighthouse  at 
the  point,  but  that  was  all.  "  Gib "  is  by  no 
means  given  to  illuminations,  although  its  love 
of  obscurity  is  not  so  great  as  it  was  supposed 
to  be  by  a  Russian  gentleman  with  whom  we 
had  once  voyaged  from  Malaga  to  Gibraltar.  He 
was  one  of  those  happy  individuals  who  place 
implicit  faith  in  their  guide-book,  and  the  one 
he  possessed  informed  him  that  the  garrison 
being  in  constant  fear  of  a  surprise,  all  the 
houses  were  painted  black,  and  that  every  light 
was  extinguished  at   nine   o'clock.     Algeciras, 


that  paradise  of  nurserymen,  where  half  the 
hyacinths  and  tulip-bulbs  which  supply  Europe 
are  grown,  having  nothing  to  defend  but  her 
gardens,  lay  curved  along  the  shore  a  brilliant 
line  of  light. 

It  was  pleasant  to  exchange  the  grey  waters 
of  the  Atlantic  for  the  Mediterranean.  It  would 
have  been  still  more  agreeable  had  its  blue 
waves  treated  us  less  rudely.  Many  a  familiar 
face  at  the  breakfast-table  disappeared,  but 
M.  and  I  succeeded,  after  a  struggle,  in  mount- 
ing to  the  upper  deck,  being  anxious  to  catch 
sight  of  our  old  friends,  the  mountains  of 
Granada,  the  snowy  peaks  of  the  Sierra  Ne- 
vada. How  we  longed  for  wings  to  fly  over 
them,  to  find  rest  in  the  green  Veda  at  their 

We  kept  close  to  the  monotonous  rock-bound 
coast  of  Oran,  and  when  the  darkness  of  another 
night  had  fallen,  we  surged  past  the  light- 
house, and  caught  sight  of  the  twinkling  lamps 
of  Algiers,  and  thought  of  the  days  when  we 
had  searched  its  strand  for  shells,  and  pieces  of 
marble  and  tesselated  pavement  on  the  shore  of 
Cape  Matifou. 

The  next  day  we  passed  the  high  mountains 
of  Kabylia,  and  caught  sight  of  craggy  Fort 
Napoleon,  which  looks  down  upon  a  hundred 


villages,  the  inhabitants  of  which  still  make  the 
rude  herb-stained  pottery  of  their  Phoenician 
ancestors,  and  work  in  silver  varied  forms  of 
the  cross,  sole  relic  of  the  Christianity  which 
they  professed  under  the  Romans.* 

The  shore  became  flat  before  the  Tunisian 
frontier  was  reached.  From  the  sea  there  is 
little  to  see  that  reminds  us  of  the  bygone 
glories  of  Carthage,  though  the  ruins  of  the  re- 
constructed city,  in  indestructible  masses,  still 
fringe  the  shore,  her  columns  still  strow  the 
strand,  and  her  noble  aqueduct,  arch  after  arch, 
an  almost  unbroken  line,  still  stretches  for  fifty 
miles  along  the  plain.  Through  a  good  glass 
we  could  just  perceive  the  church  which  the 
French  have  built  upon  the  spot  where  their 
sainted  Louis  expired.  The  hills  above  Tunis, 
famous  in  story,  were  dimly  visible,  and  then 
we  lost  sight  of  land,  until  the  Island  of  Pan- 
talaria,  formerly  belonging  to  the  King  of  Sicily, 
and  used  as  a  penal  settlement,  came  into  view. 

An  old  brick  fort  stood  upon  the  beach.  The 
town  is  large,  and  the  flat-roofed  houses,  paint- 

*  Among  some  pottery  which  I  once  bought  in  Kabylia, 
was  a  small  jug  of  peculiar  shape.  It  was  coloured  with 
dingy  red  and  yellow,  and  adorned  with  slanting  lines  of 
black,  which  crossed  one  another.  It  precisely  resembled 
the  jug  found  by  Captain  Warren,  under  the  temple  at 
Jerusalem,  an  engraving  of  which  may  be  seen  in  his  work. 

10        MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

ed  white,  rose  in  gradation,  like  steps,  against 
the  side  of  the  mountain,  an  extinct  volcano. 
In  spite  of  its  isolated  position  the  place  had  a 
cheerful  air,  and  the  public  garden,  placed  in 
the  old  crater,  appeared  to  be  a  charming  spot. 
What  a  splendid  sea  view  it  must  have  com- 
manded !  Pantalaria  owes  its  present  pros- 
perity to  its  vineyards.  It  exports  large  quan- 
tities of  white  and  red  marsala.  The  island 
now  belongs  to  the  King  of  Italy.  Though 
there  was  now  but  an  infant  moon,  the  nights 
were  made  beautiful  by  the  luminous  appear- 
ance of  the  waves.  Bright  sparks  illuminated 
the  prow  of  the  vessel,  flickered  up  the  ropes,  and 
lit  up  its  track  with  millions  of  tiny  lanterns  ; 
and  balls  of  light  came  dancing  along  with  the 
foam,  borne  past  the  sides  of  the  ship  by  the 
seething  waters.* 

Ships  generally  call  at  Malta,  but  we  did  not 
approach  it,  although  the  second-class  passen- 
gers were  short  of  water,  and  had  to  drink  that 
which  had  been  condensed,  and  even  it  was 
dealt  out  sparingly,  as  every  gallon  so  prepared 
costs  eightpence.     With  the  captain  it  was  a 

*  It  is  the  Medusa  tribe  who  have  the  faculty  of  shedding 
light  in  the  highest  degree,  and  it  is  thought  probable  that 
fish  which  go  beyond  the  depth  to  which  the  light  of  the 
sun  penetrates  the  sea,  are  endowed  with  this  faculty. 

PORT  SAID.  1 1 

consideration  both  of  time  and  money,  the  port 
dues  at  Malta  being  exceedingly  heavy.  x\ll 
were  on  the  alert  when  Port  Said  was  sighted. 
We  caught  sight  first  of  the  tall  white  light- 
house, which  stands  at  the  extremity  of  a  long- 
spit  of  sand  ;  then  of  the  breakwater,  made  of 
huge  blocks  of  concrete,  piled  up,  and  black 
with  shaggy  sea-weed ;  and  then  of  the  low 
shore,  with  the  wooden  railway-station,  the 
post-office,  long  grey  lines  of  sheds,  and  stretch- 
ing out  at  the  back,  the  town,  with  straight 
streets  crossing  one  another  with  odious  regu- 
larity. One  row  of  huts  was  pointed  out  as 
having  been  built  by  English  soldiers,  the  place 
having  served  as  a  depot  for  some  of  our  troops 
during  the  Crimea  war.  Such,  with  the  burn- 
ing sky  above  and  the  dazzling  sand  around, 
was  Port  Said.  Before  the  process  of  coaling 
commenced,  we  had  to  cover  up  all  our  effects. 
The  fine  black  dust  is  wonderfully  penetrating, 
and  it  was  weeks  before  the  three  friends, 
Grouse,  and  Drake,  and  Bustle,  were  entirely 
rid  of  the  shining  particles.  The  passengers 
made  up  little  parties  for  the  shore,  and  M. 
was  appealed  to  for  hints  as  to  where  to  go 
and  what  to  see.  M.  was  considered  a  great 
authority,  quite  equal  to  the  task  of  writing  a 
guide-book  for  Port  Said. 

12        MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

Only  seven  weeks  previously,  the  Arabia,  a 
Ruber tino  steamer,  on  which  M.  was  a  passen- 
ger, had  come  to  grief  in  the  Mediterranean,  two 
days  from  land.  She  broke  her  screw  one  night, 
when  the  gales  were  frightful,  and  was  in  great 
danger.  A  brig  was  faintly  seen  bearing  right 
down  upon  her.  The  Italian  steward  explained 
the  situation  to  M.,  the  only  one  who  understood 
and  spoke  that  language,  and  requested  him  to 
rouse  his  companions  ;  and  when  the  passen- 
gers rushed  on  deck,  a  collision  between  the 
vessels  appeared  to  be  inevitable.  The  brig 
was  on  the  top  of  the  waves,  with  her  bowsprit 
over  the  deck  of  the  Arabia,  which  lay  in  the 
trough  of  the  sea,  when  a  mighty  billow  broke 
in  and  parted  them.  The  unknown  vessel  her- 
self, probably  disabled,  drifted  away,  carrying 
with  her  part  of  the  rigging  of  the  Arabia.  The 
steamer  sent  up  rockets  as  signals  for  assistance, 
and  at  last  got  towed  back  into  Port  Said. 
For  ten  days  did  poor  M.,  who  was  in  a  fever 
of  anxiety  to  get  home,  pace  the  sands,  and 
torment  the  agents,  in  order  to  know  when  the 
ship  would  be  able  to  sail.  At  last,  tired  out, 
she  and  eight  of  her  companions  in  misfortune 
agreed  to  take  the  first  steamer  which  would 
forward  them.  It  proved  to  be  the  Mesopo- 
tamia, a  little  vessel  of  eight   hundred   tons, 

PORT  SAiD.  13 

bound  from  the  Persian  Gulf  to  Marseilles.  In 
spite  of  heavy  gales,  she  landed  them  safely  in 
France.  Curiously  enough,  Captain  Cousins 
knew  the  Mesopotamia  and  her  captain  ;  he  de- 
clared that  it  was  a  fine  boat ;  he  and  its  com- 
mander were  friends,  and  had  served  together 
for  some  years  on  board  the  unfortunate  Cos- 

Port  Said  has  a  considerable  but  ever-chang- 
ing reputation.  It  is  an  evil  place,  full  of  billiard- 
rooms,  gaming-houses,  and  low  drinking  booths, 
where  a  man  must  look  to  his  safety  after  dark. 
All  the  French  officials  who  are  able  to  do  so 
live  at  Ismalia.  It  so  happened  that  I  and  an- 
other lady  were  for  the  first  hour  alone  together 
after  landing,  and  found  it  so  unpleasant  that 
we  were  on  the  point  of  returning  to  our  boat, 
when  by  good  luck  we  fell  in  with  some  of  our 
friends.  In  the  middle  of  the  town  there  is  a 
melancholy  pleasure-ground,  with  scorched  grass, 
and  shrivelled  shrubs  covered  with  dust.  Being 
a  French  settlement,  the  most  prominent  object 
is,  of  course,  the  Hotel  Restaurant  and  Cafe  de 
Paris,  a  great,  rambling,  buff-washed  building. 
From  this  centre  radiate  several  streets,  with 
wooden  houses  and  colonnades,  underneath 
which  are  the  shops.  The  most  prudent  of  us 
ran  wild   amongst  their  contents,  eating  very 


dear  cakes,  which  we  did  not  want,  and  buying 
expensive  boxes  of  pink  and  white  hearts'  de- 
light, which  we  knew  would  be  like  so  much 
bird-lime  in  our  mouths. 

The  Chinese  and  Japan  wares  were  really 
good,  and  not  dear.  We  treated  ourselves  to 
several  small  articles,  along  with  a  pair  of 
japanned  vases,  which  we  designed  for  lamps, 
and  made  a  mental  note  to  the  effect  that  we 
should  be  well  furnished  with  such  articles  if  we 
ever  visited  the  place  again. 

The  streets  were  thronged  with  disreputable- 
looking  people ;  the  Europeans  were  chiefly 
French,  and  surely  there  is  ou  earth  no  vaga- 
bond like  a  French  vagabond.  He  is  the  sort 
of  individual  who  would  rob  you  with  a  debon- 
naire  air,  and  take  off  his  hat  whilst  stealing 
your  purse.  There  was  to  be  a  masked  ball  in 
the  town  that  evening,  and  the  exteriors  of 
many  shops  were  decorated  with  masks  and 
dominos,  tall  clannish  hats,  and  highly-glazed 
calico  costumes  of  every  shape  and  colour.  In 
the  middle  of  one  street  stalked  an  all  but  un- 
draped  madman,  who  was  endeavouring  to  hold 
three  umbrellas  over  his  head — an  object  of 
derision  to  the  low  Europeans,  but  of  venera- 
tion to  the  natives.  As  is  usually  the  case  in 
such  places,  we  were  unmercifully  tormented 

PORT  SA'iD.  15 

by  beggars  and  little  boys,  and  had  the  inevit- 
able quarrel  with  our  boatmen  before  returning 
on  board. 

When  our  company  were  again  assembled, 
we  compared  notes  as  to  what  we  had  seen  and 
done  ;  some,  not  having  had  enough  of  the  sea, 
had  taken  a  steam-launch,  and  had  examined 
the  breakwater  and  the  light-house.  Our 
friends,  the  M.  A s,  had  visited  the  ceme- 
tery, in  order  to  see  the  grave  of  a  young 
friend,  an  officer,  who  had  died  of  fever  in  this 
wretched  hole.  They  were  quite  dejected  with 
the  dirt  and  neglect  which  they  had  found. 
"  My  dear,"  said  the  Colonel  to  his  wife,  "  if  I 
die  at  Port  Said,  bury  me  in  the  sea.  That,  at 
least,  will  be  a  clean  grave."  Dick's  goat  had 
died,  I  fear,  of  cold  and  exposure  (Dick  was  the 
adored  baby),  and  from  Port  Said  M.  took  the 
opportunity  of  telegraphing  to  Suez  for  another. 
Coaling  went  on  all  night,  but  at  eleven  in  the 
morning  we  steamed  off,  in  spite  of  the  absence  of 
three  passengers,  whom  the  warning  guns  had 
failed  to  bring  back  from  too  protracted  wander- 
ings on  the  shore.  We  got  quite  excited  in 
thinking  how  they  would  contrive  to  catch  the 
vessel,  for  we  soon  perceived  that  a  boat  was 
slowly  toiling  after  us,  making  so  little  way 
that  its  occupants  were  obliged  to  change  it  for 


another,  in  which,  with  some  difficulty,  they 
succeeded  in  reaching  the  Hindoo,  which  did  not 
stop  one  moment  to  take  them  up.  It  was 
somewhat  awkward  for  the  ladies,  one  of  whom 
was  stout ;  but  at  last  they  reached  the  deck, 
with  tempers  slightly  ruffled ;  and  they  were 
certainly  received  in  a  very  unsympathising 
manner.  The  captain  explained  that  it  was 
impossible  for  him  to  wait  a  moment  after  the 
ship  was  ready  to  start,  especially  as  another 
vessel,  one  of  the  Ducal  line,  was  anxious  to  get 
before  him,  and  it  was  desirable  to  have  the  way 
as  clear  as  possible.  He  had  once  been  detained 
six  days  in  the  canal,  in  consequence  of  ships  in 
advance  having  stuck. 

It  was  delightful  to  sit  down  in  a  shady 
corner  and  watch  the  landscape,  as  the  plains 
over  which  the  Israelites  had  wandered  lay 
extended  before  me.  The  land  of  the  Pharaohs 
was  a  dead  flat,  bounded  only  by  the  distant 
horizon.  To  the  left  lay  a  stony  desert,  but 
to  the  right  spread  the  shallow  waters  of  Lake 
Menzaleh,  the  abiding  place  of  innumerable 
wild-fowl.  Ducks,  with  feathers  that  shone  like 
silver,  floated  about  in  thousands  ;  knots  of  peli- 
cans, fishing  for  their  noonday  meal ;  red-billed 
cranes,  standing  on  one  leg,  profoundly  occupied 
in  regarding  their  reflection  in  the  water.     The 


air  was  also  tenanted.  The  brilliant  scarlet 
plumage  of  the  flamingos  flashed  in  the  sun- 
shine as  they  wheeled  about  in  the  cloudless 
sky ;  and  stiff-legged  storks  skimmed  along  in 
wedge-shaped  battalions,  led  by  some  crafty 
traveller,  who  had  flapped  his  wings  over  many 
a  land.  Who  knows  ? — he  might  have  supped 
upon  the  banks  of  Father  Nile,  dozed  the  night 
away  upon  the  great  pyramid,  and  the  morrow's 
noon  might  see  him  hovering  over  the  highlands 
of  Abyssinia.  The  mirage  is  often  seen  to  great 
advantage  from  this  part  of  the  canal,  but  on 
the  present  occasion  the  weather  was  unfavour- 
able to  any  striking  display  of  the  phenomenon. 
Occasionally  we  imagined  that  there  was  a  tree 
or  an  island,  where  their  existence  was  impos- 
sible;  and  there  was  '  sometimes  a  deceptive 
mingling  of  sand,  hill,  and  cloud — but  that  was 

There  were  fourteen  ships  before  us,  and  two 
or  three  were  in  our  rear.  The  regulation 
speed  is  four  and  a  half  miles  an  hour.  Under 
certain  circumstances  the  mail  boats  are  allowed 
to  pass  ahead.  The  etiquette  of  the  canal  is 
strictly  enforced,  and  in  narrow  or  winding 
places — for  the  line  taken  is  far  from  straight — 
there  are  sidings  into  which  ships  can  enter  and 
allow  others  to  go  ahead ;  and  at  the  frequent 
,  ,    VOL.  I.  C 

18        MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

stations,  which  are  also  telegraph-offices,  signals 
are  run  up  for  the  instruction  of  the  pilot.  The 
signals  for  stopping  were  very  simple ;  two  or 
three  cocoa-nuts  strung  on  a  rope,  or  two 
gourds  and  a  small  flag. 

These  stations,  which  are  long  and  low,  are 
built  of  wood,  and  their  rustic  porches  were 
covered  with  creepers.  It  was  pleasant  to  see 
such  pretty  home-like  places,  each  with  its 
patch  of  garden  and  grassy  banks,  little  green 
oases  in  the  sandy  desert. 

Occasionally  we  saw  a  colourless  village,  built 
of  mudand  straw;  and  little  naked  children  would 
run  down  to  peep  at  us,  and  scamper  off  again. 
Now  and  then  a  tall,  dark  man,  draped  in  an 
ample  burnous  of  striped  black  and  white  flannel, 
with  a  formidable  bludgeon  in  his  hand,  would 
pass  along  on  the  raised  footpath,  accompanied, 
possibly,  by  wife  or  daughter,  huddled  up  on 
the  back  of  a  camel — simple  scenes,  which  were 
pleasant  to  behold.  The  first  large  steamer 
which  we  met  was  packed  with  pilgrims  bound 
from  Jeddo  to  Alexandria.  The  crowd  on  her 
decks  was  great,  and  there  were  groups  and 
figures  so  remarkable  that  they  fixed  them- 
selves in  our  memory. 

Majestic  old  men,  with  flowing  beards  of 
purest  white,  with  immense  turbans,  and  robes, 
occasionally  of  the  sacred  green,  but   stained 


with  travel,  leant  upon  their  tall  staffs,  and 
gravely  regarded  us.  Their  loins  were  girded 
by  leathern  belts,  to  which  were  appended 
gourds  of  fantastic  form  for  holding  water. 
There  were  others — the  wildest-looking  beings 
that  it  was  possible  to  conceive — who  leant  over 
the  side  of  the  ship  and  grinned  at  us.  They 
were  Somalis,  a  people  whose  habit  it  is  to 
keep  their  heads  cool  by  plastering  them  over 
with  chenam,  a  mixture  of  earth  and  lime,  which 
bleaches  the  hair,  and  makes  it  exceedingly 
coarse.  Their  shaks,  of  tawny  hue,  entirely 
concealed  their  foreheads,  and  formed  a  pent- 
house over  their  fierce  eyes.*  Some  women 
were  huddled  up  in  a  corner.  Untempting 
bundles  of  dirty  cotton,  pots  and  pans,  and 
sacks  of  grain,  were  heaped  up  on  the  deck,  where 
there  scarcely  appeared  to  be  sufficient  room  to 
stand  ;  and  loops  of  sausages,  and  other  edibles, 
were  festooned  about.  Conspicuous  among  the 
crowd   were  the  tall   Egyptian   guards,  stern, 

*  Somali  land  is  a  triangular  country,  containing  330,000 
square  miles.  It  is  bordered  on  the  north  by  the  Gulf  of 
Aden,  on  the  south  by  the  Indian  Ocean,  and  on  the  south- 
west by  the  river  Jub,  which  rises  in  southern  Abyssinia. 
The  present  Somali  race  were  originally  Arabs,  who  landed 
on  the  African  shore  in  the  fifteenth  century,  driving  back 
the  original  inhabitants  of  the  country,  who  had,  in  early 
times,  become  Christians.     The  Sornalis  are  Moslems. 



dark  men,  with  broad  shoulder-belts  and  girdles 
bristling  with  weapons,  placed  there  to  keep  the 
peace,  and  to  prevent  anyone  from  landing  in 
the  Khedive's  dominions,  and  by  chance  import- 
ing cholera  or  plague. 

Contagious  diseases  are  of  frequent  occur- 
rence on  board  pilgrim  ships,  and  they  have 
consequently  to  undergo  a  quarantine  of  forty 
days  wherever  they  stop.  It  is  most  unpleasant 
to  sail  in  a  boat  which  has  ever  been  used  for 
the  conveyance  of  pilgrims.  (Having  experi- 
enced the  disagreeable  consequences,  I  speak 
feelingly.)  They  abound  with  obnoxious  in- 
sects, which  swarm  out  of  the  woodwork  in 
legions,  and  no  amount  of  care  can  subdue 

The  pilgrim  ship  was  soon  out  of  sight,  and 
shortly  after  we  passed  a  fine  P.  and  O.  steamer 
— a  great  contrast  to  the  one  with  which  we 
had  just  parted  company.  She  ran  up  her  flag 
and  the  Hindoo  returned  the  compliment.  With 
the  exception  of  the  men  and  officers  engaged 
in  working  the  ship,  there  was  not  a  soul  on 
her  decks.  A  face  appeared  for  a  moment  at  a 
cabin  window,  a  white  hand  was  waved  from  a 
port-hole,  and  she  went  swiftly  on  her  way. 
There  was  something  strangely  impressive, 
almost  ghostly,  in  these  silent  meetings,  where 


people  who  had  never  met  before,  and  would 
probably  never  meet  again,  exchanged  un- 
asked-for  photographs,  possibly  to  be  preserved 
in  the  mind's  eye  as  long  as  life  lasted.  Be- 
fore reaching  Kontora,  some  hillocks  in  the  dis- 
tance were  pointed  out  as  the  ruins  of  Migdol 
(not  to  be  confounded  with  the  Migdol  upon  the 
Ked  Sea).  At  the  station  of  Kontora,  which 
lies  at  the  head  of  the  great  lagoon  lake,  and  is 
five  geographical  miles  from  the  sea,  the  influ- 
ence of  the  Mediterranean  tide  ceases  to  be 
perceptible.  Steamers  are  not  allowed  to  pro- 
ceed after  sunset.  We  dropped  anchor  as  close 
as  possible  to  the  sandy  shore.  The  short  twi- 
light was  soon  gone,  but  the  evening  air  was 
delightfully  balmy.  I  sat  in  a  quiet  mood, 
watching  the  crescent  moon,  which  I  fancied  to 
be  unusually  large  and  bright.  Lower  and 
lower  she  sank,  until  she  rested  like  an  ark 
upon  a  low  black  ridge  of  distant  sand  a  mo- 
ment, and  all  that  remained  of  her  beauty  were 
two  brilliant  stars,  which  lingered  for  an  instant 
and  disappeared. 

We  started  as  soon  as  it  was  light,  but  had 
to  stop  in  order  to  let  a  vessel  pass,  the  canal 
in  this  part  being  very  narrow.  Some  of  the 
gentlemen  took  advantage  of  the  delay,  and 
went   on   shore  with  their   guns.     They    shot 

22        MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

some  birds,  but  brought  back  no  trophies,  the 
game  being  lost  in  the  scrub  which  covered  the 
sandy  plain.  One  of  the  number,  however,  had 
collected  a  few  plants,  amongst  which  we  found 
a  strange  sort  of  cactus,  and  some  stiff  branches, 
which  bore  a  small  white  flower,  with  some 
resemblance  to  heather.  The  learned  declared 
that  the  plant  was  a  degenerate  sort  of  palm. 
Once  more  under  way,  and  the  scenery 
changed  considerably.  Instead  of  the  bound- 
less plain,  we  now  voyaged  between  banks  of 
sand,  which  were  upwards  of  forty  feet  high  ; 
and  the  canal  was  so  narrow  that  a  good  jumper 
could  have  leapt  across  it.  Shut  in  as  we 
were,  the  scenery  possessed  its  own  peculiar  at- 
traction. The  clear  water  was  brilliantly  green, 
and  contrasted  well  with  the  rich  light  brown 
sand,  spotless,  save  where  the  tracks  of  footsteps 
were  discernible — the  print  of  naked  human 
feet,  the  hoof  of  the  camel,  the  buffalo,  the  ass, 
and  the  jackal ;  or  the  paws  of  the  panther,  the 
cheeta,  and  the  wild  cat.  Occasionally  the  long 
tracks  of  a  snake  could  be  traced.  To  keep 
vigil  on  the  banks  of  this  stream  would  not 
have  been  agreeable,  when  all  these  creatures 
came  down  in  the  moonlight  to  drink.  Occa- 
sionally the  banks  broke  down,  and  disclosed 
some  flat-roofed,  sun-scorched  village,  built  of 


mud  and  straw  and  unbaked  bricks  ;  or  we  saw 
a  knot  of  hobbled  camels,  tended  by  some  wild 
dark  man,  leaning  upon  his  staff,  protected 
from  the  sun  by  a  scarf  of  coarse  striped 
woollen.  Such  a  group  may  perchance  have 
occupied  the  self-same  spot  three  thousand 
years  ago.  Shortly  before  sunset  we  came 
upon  a  number  of  men  who  were  at  work  upon 
the  banks,  which  have  to  be  attended  to  con- 
stantly; Some  of  them,  their  duty  being  done, 
had  laid  themselves  down  to  sleep,  while  others 
were  grouped  round  fires,  baking  the  peculiar 
flat  cake  which  is  the  staple  food  of  the  country. 
The  scene  was  exceedingly  picturesque. 

Ismalia  is  generally  reached  on  the  evening 
of  the  second  day,  but  it  was  not  so  upon  this 
occasion,  our  progress  being  slow.  We  stuck 
no  less  than  nine  times.  Immediately  the  ship 
ran  her  prow  into  the  bank,  she  swung  across 
the  stream.  We  were  never  aground  for  more 
than  half  an  hour,  having,  in  consequence  of 
our  slow  pace  (less  than  three  miles  an  hour) 
struck  the  side  of  the  canal  with  feeble  im- 
petus. On  each  occasion  the  uproar  was  deaf- 
ening— such  an  issuing  of  orders  through 
speaking-trumpets,  such  shouts  from  the  crew, 
and  such  guttural  responses  from  the  shore, 
where  men  appeared  to  spring  out  of  the  very 

24       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

sand,  anxious  to  lend  their  aid,  and  gain  the 
expected  reward.  Sometimes  horses  and  don- 
keys were  pressed  into  the  service.  The  men 
were  powerful,  and  their  clothing  scanty,  but 
a  dark  skin  takes  away  much  of  the  appearance 
of  nakedness,  and  the  absence  of  costume  passes 
unnoticed,  save  when  the  perfect  proportions  of 
some  particular  figure  strike  the  eye,  and  you 
remark,  "  What  a  fine  form !"  as  if  in  a  gallery 
of  bronzes. 

We  entered  Lake  Taman  early  in  the  morn- 
ing, but  were  not  allowed  to  land  at  Ismalia. 
We  had  a  good  view  of  the  town  from 
our  anchorage.  It  is  full  of  modern  houses, 
inhabited  by  French  employes  and  their  families. 
The  Viceroy  has  a  Summer  palace  upon  the 
banks  of  the  lake — a  huge  square  stone  building, 
standing  amidst  sand-hills,  without  any  appear- 
ance of  vegetation  near  it.  At  Ismalia,  the 
fresh-water  canal,  which  was  made  in  order  to 
supply  the  workmen  on  the  line  with  whole- 
some drinking  water  from  the  Nile,  enters  Lake 
Taman.  If  I  do  not  mistake,  the  bed  formed 
part  of  the  ancient  canal  dug  by  Sesostris.  We 
were  amused  by  the  bumboats  which  came 
alongside ;  they  were  fitted  out  with  such  a 
queer  collection  of  articles — coarse  shoes,  black 
bread,  onions,  and  hearts'  delight;  but  the  most 


attractive  part  of  their  cargo  were  the  monkeys, 
which  they  occasionally  sell  to  homeward-bound 
passengers.  Some  of  the  little  ones  were  pretty 
and  playful — not  so  their  seniors.  One  mother 
was  continually  pinching  her  little  ones,  and 
pulling  faces  at  them ;  whilst  another,  with 
higher  maternal  instincts,  spent  her  time  in 
gravely  searching  for  the  parasites  with  which 
her  offspring  were  infested. 



Chateau  Eugenie— Suez— The  Wells  of  Moses— The  Red 
Sea— Remarkable  Coral  Reefs— Island  of  Perim— 
Novel  Postman — Aden — Arabian  Dhowd— Signal  of 
Distress— Sea-beggars— Socotra— Flying  Fish— Arri- 
val at  Bombay— The  Esplanade  Hotel— Pamphlets— 
First  Aspect  of  Bombay — Equipages— Parsee  Women 
—Polo— The  Native  Town. 

SHORTLY  after  leaving  Ismalia,  we  crossed 
the  bitter  lakes— bitter  no  longer,  now 
that  they  feel  the  influence  of  the  tide  from  the 
Red  Sea,  which  at  Suez  rises  six  or  eight  feet. 
The  level  of  the  Red  Sea  is,  I  believe,  eighteen 
inches  higher  than  that  of  the  Mediterranean; 
When  we  again  entered  the  canal,  the  naviga- 
tion became  difficult,  and  many  dredging-ma- 
chines  were  at  work.  The  sharp  elbows  were 
frequent,  and  it  was  by  no  means  easy  for  so 
long  a  vessel  as  ours  to  turn  them,  especially 
as  the  sand  appeared  sometimes  to  bar  all  fur- 
ther progress.  The  captain,  and  the  pilot  whom 
we  had  taken  on  board  at  Ismalia,  along  with 
four  men,  were  at  the  wheel. 


At  a  short  distance  from  Suez  stands  the 
Chateau  Eugenie,  which  was  built  for  the  ac- 
commodation of  the  Empress  when  she  came  to 
open  the  canal.  It  is  a  large  square  wooden 
house,  with  verandahs,  and  bears  a  considerable 
resemblance  to  the  grand  stand  on  some  race- 
course. Seen  from  the  water,  Suez  is  a  bright- 
looking  town,  but  "  distance  lends  enchantment 
to  the  view/'  The  tapering  spire  of  the  cathe- 
dral, the  large  hotel  built  by  the  Khedive,  and 
a  long  row  of  substantial,  green-shuttered 
houses,  give  it  an  air  of  false  importance  and 
respectability.  Its  dark  houses  are  very  unsafe* 
It  has  lost  the  little  trade  it  once  enjoyed,  and 
travellers  pass  it  by.  Two  or  three  ancient 
wells  near  the  town,  surrounded  by  trees,  are 
called  the  wells  of  Moses,  and  at  the  back  rise 
fine  crags,  serrated  and  lightning  scathed,  a 
spur  of  the  Sinia  range.  Some  authorities  be- 
lieve the  present  camel  ford  close  to  the  har- 
bour to  be  the  track  crossed  by  the  Israelites, 
and  we  willingly  entertained  the  idea,  as  it- 
gave  additional  interest  to  the  scene. 

Before  we  started,  our  new  goat  was  put  on 
board,  along  with  her  little  one.  The  expres- 
sion and  features  of  animals  vary  as  much  in 
different  countries  as  do  those  of  the  human 
race.    Our  new  acquaintance  was  a  large,  gaunt 


creature,  with  a  Roman  nose,  and  fine  long  hair 
of  a  bluish  grey  colour.  I  regarded  her  with  awe 
• — who  knows  ?  her  fore-mothers  might  have  sup- 
plied the  babes  in  the  time  of  the  Pharaohs  with 
milk,  or  ministered  to  the  wants  of  Joseph.  Her 
ladyship  was  by  no  means  shy.  To  the  astonish- 
ment of  the  captain,  the  amusement  of  the  com- 
pany, and  the  vast  indignation  of  the  pompous 
steward,  she  and  her  kid  quietly  walked  into 
the  saloon  during  the  sacred  hour  of  dinner, 
calmly  surveyed  the  scene,  and  not  finding  it 
to  her  mind,  marched  through  and  departed, 
possibly  on  the  search  for  her  late  master's  hut. 
As  we  slowly  steamed  round  the  long  spit 
of  land  which  forms  the  harbour,  we  passed  a 
garden,  in  the  centre  of  which  stood  a  hand- 
some stone  pediment,  supporting  a  bust  in 
bronze — a  memorial  erected  by  the  canal  com- 
pany as  a  tribute  to  the  memory  of  the  unfor- 
tunate Lieutenant  Waghorn.  The  dues  paid 
to  the  company  at  first  strike  one  to  be  enor- 
mous. Those  of  the  Hindoo  amounted,  I  be- 
lieve, to  fifteen  hundred  pounds — little  enough, 
however,  when  the  time  and  money  saved  by 
this  route  are  taken  into  consideration.  The 
distance  to  India  by  the  Cape  is  eleven  thousand 
eight  hundred  miles — by  the  canal  it  is  six 
thousand  five  hundred. 


We  had  now,  to  my  regret,  done  with  the 
canal.     I  believe  that  I  was  the  only  person  on 
board  who  had  enjoyed  the  transit,  or  taken 
an  interest  in  the  time-hononred  plains  through 
which  we  had  passed.    We  glided  into  the  Gulf 
a  little  before  sunset.  A  glorious  light  burnished 
the  far-stretching  range  of  hill  upon  the  Egyp- 
tian shore,  but  the  dark  blue  mountains  of  Sinia 
were  in  shade.     The  lateness  of  the  hour  was 
much  to  be  regretted,  for  in  consequence  of  it 
we  lost  a  long  stretch  of  beautiful  scenery.     I 
was  on  deck  with  the  dawning  day,  and  the 
captain  was  kind  enough  to  show  me  his  charts, 
at  the  same  time  remarking  how  seldom  pas- 
sengers cared  to  relinquish  an  hour  or  two  of 
sleep  in  order  to  see  this  fine  gulf.     It  is  a  curi- 
ous fact  that  people  who  would  rise  with  the 
lark  in  order  to  gaze  upon  a  sunrise  in  Switzer- 
land, or  a   castle  on  the  Rhine,  will   scarcely 
mount  to  the  deck  to  look  at  anything  remarkable 
on  their  passage  to  the  East.     The  very  name 
of  India  appears  to  cast  a  spell  of  indifference 
over  those  who  have  touched  her  shores,  or  are 
likely  to  visit  them.      The  secret  may  be  that 
the  hearts  of  both  the  outward  and  the  home- 
ward-bound are  full  to  overflowing  with  memo- 
ries of  their  native  land.     The  point  of  view 
from  whence  a  glimpse  of  the  peak  of  Sinia  is 


sometimes  obtained,  we  had  passed  in  the  night, 
but  were  still  skirting  the  range.  It  looked 
very  fine  as  the  mild  sun  of  early  morning  lit 
up  the  great  masses  and  points  of  rock. 

We  had  entered  the  Red  Sea,  and  were  now 
in  the  Straits  of  Jubal,  which  are  lined  with 
coral  reefs ;  nor  is  the  mid  channel  free  from 
dangerous  islands  and  hidden  spurs,  and  even 
in  calm  weather  the  watch  is  doubled.  When 
stormy  it  is  a  most  anxious  time  for  the  ship's 
officers,  and  even  the  captain  remains  on  deck 
at  night.  We  felt  the  periodical  current  which 
flows  into  the  Red  Sea  from  October  to  May. 
From  May  to  October  the  flow  of  the  current  is 
reversed.*  Once  more  we  saw  the  Egyptian 
cliffs  at  sunset.  They  glowed  like  copper,  richer 
colouring  it  was  impossible  to  imagine.  As  the 
hours  flew  by  we  caught  sight  of  mountains  to 
the  right,  and  far  inland,  some  of  which  attained 
a  height  of  seven  thousand  feet,  and  shortly 
afterwards  the  Elba  mountains  in  Arabia,  which 
are  nine  thousand  feet  high,  loomed  grandly  in 
the  far  distance.  Oh  !  for  the  wings  of  a  dove, 
to  have  explored  them  ! 

Losing  sight  of  land,  we  encountered  a  gale, 
and  rolled  terribly.     The  Hindoo  was  too  long 

*  Somerville's  Physical  Geography,  vol.  i.,  p.  249. 

A  GALE.  31 

to  ride  the  waves,  but  "she  cut  her  bright 
way  through."  The  skylights  were  batteued 
down,  all  loose  articles  secured,  the  saloon 
carpet  was  taken  up,  and  stout  wooden  slides, 
four  feet  high,  were  slipped  into  the  doorways. 
Prostrate  forms  strewed  the  sofas,  and  dismal 
groans  issued  from  below.  Holding  tight  to 
the  woodwork,  I  could  see  what  was  going  on 
outside  this  little  Pandemonium.  Every  four  or 
five  minutes  there  was  a  bang,  succeeded  by  a 
momentary  interval  of  silence  and  then  a  mighty 
roar.  The  staggering  ship  was  stunned,  and 
when  she  recovered  herself,  quivering  and 
groaning  like  a  wounded  creature,  the  water 
came  rushing  along  the  deck,  and  foamed  away 
through  the  rope  bulwarks,  which  caught  all 
the  waifs  left  about  by  the  heedless  and  the 
sick — mops,  and  pails,  and  camp-stools,  books, 
bits  of  needlework,  handkerchiefs,  and  stray 

All  this  time  the  sun  shone  brilliantly.  The 
fine  spray,  hurled  high  into  the  air,  was  tinged 
with  prismatic  colours,  flickering  rainbows  of 
exceeding  beauty,  and  dead  white  sea-crests, 
curled  and  rushed  impetuously  down  into  gulfs 
of  deepest  indigo.  The  sight  was  magnificent, 
and  I  felt  that  I  should  soon  learn  to  prefer  rough 
weather  to  the  monotony  of  a  calm  at  sea.  When 
the  ocean  is  perfectly  smooth  I  always  experi- 


ence  a  vague  sense  of  disappointment,  and  the 
vast  plain  of  water  fails  to  excite  my  enthusiasm. 
After  a  few  hours  the  wind  fell,  and  we  were 
able  to  resume  our  seats  upon  the  upper  deck, 
to  mark  the  distant  sail  by  day,  and  at  night  to 
watch  the  increasing  moon. 

We  reached  a  part  of  the  Red  Sea  where  two 
very  remarkable  coral  reefs  stand  out  of  the 
water.  They  are  so  symmetrically  formed  that 
they  appear  as  if  they  had  been  shaped  by  the 
hand  of  man.  Their  perpendicular  sides  rise 
high  out  of  the  water,  and  their  tops  are  per- 
fectly level.  Upon  one  of  them  there  is  a  beacon, 
and  an  apparatus  for  signalling.  Ships  pass  as 
far  from  these  islands  as  possible,  for  they  are 
dangerous  neighbours.  Not  many  years  ago  a 
fine  French  steamer  was  lost  upon  the  smaller 
of  the  two,  and  all  hands  perished.  In  rough 
weather  the  sea  dashes  completely  over  them. 
At  the  mouth  of  the  Straits  of  Babelmandeb 
("  The  Gate  of  Tears !")  lies  the  large  volcanic 
Island  of  Perim.  At  a  little  distance  from  it  a 
fine  mass  of  red  rock  rises  abruptly  from  the 
water.  It  reminded  me  of  the  Bass  rock,  and 
all  the  more  as  it  was  covered  with  silvery  sea- 
fowl.  The  French  tried  hard  to  get  possession 
of  Perim,  but  the  officer  who  commanded  the  ex- 
pedition which  was  to  plant  the  French  drapeau 

PERIM.  33 

on  its  shore  talked  a  little  too  much.  The  Eng- 
lish, consequently,  were  too  prompt  for  him,  and 
when  the  representative  of  "  La  Belle  France  " 
arrived,  he  found  the  union-jack  floating  over 
the  island.  Since  then  a  small  garrison  has  been 
maintained  upon  it,  as  its  position  is  important. 
We  saw  the  lonely  row  of  barracks  stretching 
along  behind  the  tall  spectral  lighthouse. 

I  afterwards  met  with  a  friend  whose  husband 
had  commanded  this  little  force  of  fifty  sepoys, 
who,  along  with  herself  and  children,  a  con- 
densing engineer,  a  native  apothecary,  and  a 
certain  number  of  Somali  followers,  composed 
the  sole  population  of  the  black  rock,  which  has 
neither  soil  nor  fresh  water.  The  sole  vegeta- 
tion consists  of  a  few  bastard  cocoa-nut  palms, 
which  bend  away  from  the  prevalent  gales,  and 
a  little  scrubby  plant,  with  a  tiny  yellow  flower, 
which  creeps  among  the  sandhills.  The  family 
were  put  upon  a  small  daily  allowance  of  con- 
densed water,  which  unfortunately  will  not  bear 
exposure  to  a  hot  atmosphere.  All  provisions 
were  of  course  brought  from  Aden,  a  distance  of 
ninety  miles.  Fish  was  good  and  plentiful,  but 
there  was  no  one  to  catch  it  until  my  friends 
imported  a  fisherman,  who  skilfully  threw  his 
nets  from  the  rocks,  and  supplied  their  table, 
while    shell-fish    also    were     procured.       The 

VOL.  I.  D 


position  was  rendered  still  less  desirable  by  the 
tediousness  of  the  postal  arrangements.     They 
only   received   their   letters   once   a   fortnight. 
For    some    reason   with    which    I    am    unac- 
quainted, passing   steamers   were  not  allowed 
to  convey  them.     They  were  brought  by  land, 
a  six  days'  march  for  a   man  and  his  camels, 
along  the  Arabian  shore.    When  this  novel  post- 
man arrived  at  his  destination,  his  duty  was  to 
light  a   great  bonfire,  in   order  to  attract  the 
attention  of  the  watchful  Perimites,  who,  it  may 
be  imagined,  lost  no  time  in  sending  their  boat  to 
fetch   the   precious   mail-bags.      Letters    were 
opened   and  answered  in   hot  haste,  the  little 
boat  set  forth  again  upon  its  three  mile  voyage, 
and  the  weary  camel-driver  re-commenced  his 
six  days'  march  over  the  burning  sands.     Rare 
shells  strow  the  shore  of  this  island,  and  occa- 
sionally fine  bunches  of  coral,  white  and  red  and 
black,  are  washed  up.     A  story  is  told,  which 
probably  rests  upon  some  slight  foundation,  of 
an  officer  in  charge  of  the  Perim  detachment, 
who,  at  the  expiration  of  his  term,  applied  to 
have   it    renewed;    the    request   was   granted 
without   difficulty;    but   a   similar   application, 
made  at   the   expiration   of  the   second   term, 
so   astonished   the   authorities,  that  they  sent 
to   inquire    how  the   gentleman  was   amusing 

ADEN.  35 

himself,  and  found  that  he  had  gone  to  Eng- 

Long  before  Aden  (a  name  which  signifies 
Paradise)  is  reached,  the  distant  Arabian 
shore  is  again  seen,  broken  into  precipitous 
gaps  and  headlands.  For  hours  the  great 
rock  is  visible,  a  blue  stain  upon  the  horizon, 
which  gradually  assumes  form  and  colour.  Im- 
mediately before  reaching  Aden,  some  very 
curious  small  volcanic  hills  and  cliffs  are  passed. 
The  latter  are  very  high,  and  the  strata,  which 
is  varied  in  colour,  and  strongly  marked,  almost 
perpendicular.  These  heights  are  so  fantasti- 
cally shaped  that  it  is  difficult  to  believe  that 
they  are  not  an  assemblage  of  ruined  fortifica- 
tions. The  base  of  the  cliffs  is  honeycombed 
with  mysterious- looking  caves — and  there  were 
many  charming  little  coves.  What  treasures 
might  not  be  strown  upon  their  yellow  sands  ! 
Coral  and  amber  (it  is  the  land  of  amber),  shells 
and  sea-weeds  !  Alas  !  they  were  not  for  us  to 
gather ! 

We  slackened  steam  off  Aden,  but  did  not 
stop,  passing  the  mouth  of  the  harbour  very 
slowly.  The  long  lines  of  the  cavalry  barracks 
were  before  us,  but  we  saw  nothing  of  most  of 
our  forces,  which  are  hidden  away  in  the  crater 
of  the   loug   extinct   volcano.     The   European 

D  2 


town  lies  at  the  back  of  the  rock.  I  am  not 
acquainted  with  the  exact  scale  either  of  Gibral- 
tar or  of  Aden,  but  the  former  is  certainly  far 
the  finest  of  the  two  rocks.  Aden  must  be  a 
wretched  place  to  live  in  for  any  length  of  time. 
The  want  of  fresh  water  is  felt,  in  spite  of  the 
numerous  and  powerful  condensers,  and  the 
wells  are  all  more  or  less  brackish.  A  certain 
amount  of  each  kind  is  doled  out  per  head, 
according  to  regulation.  If  I  do  not  mistake, 
a  lady  has  five  gallons  of  each  per  diem  allowed 
to  her.  Cattle  also  have  their  allowance.  The 
little  Aden  cow,  unrivalled  as  a  milker,  will  flour- 
ish upon  the  most  brackish  quality.  The  want 
of  green  stuff  is  also  distressing,  although 
Government  has  large  gardens  thirty  miles  off, 
upon  the  Arabian  coast.  The  great  pest  of  the 
place  are  the  myriads  of  insects,  which  allow  of 
no  rest  during  the  day,  though  at  night  they 
fortunately  cease  to  torment.  I  had  always 
fancied  that  there  was  delightful  bathing  at 
Aden,  but  it  is  seldom  resorted  to,  the  shore 
being  inconveniently  set  with  sharp  rocks,  in 
addition  to  which  it  is  dangerous  on  account  of 
the  tides,  which  rise  and  fall  with  violence,  and 
sometimes  the  wash  brings  in  unwilling  and  un- 
welcome guests  in  the  shape  of  sharks. 

As  long  as  we  were  under  the  shelter  of  the 

THE  RED  SEA.  37 

rock_,  the  sea  was  calm,  and  great  numbers  of 
sea-jellies  vibrated  up  and  down  in  the  clear 
green  water,  looking  like  lovely  pink  flowers, 
all  of  the  same  colour.  Borne  along  by  the 
same  current  streamed  glossy  green  and  brown 
and  red  sea-weeds.  I  spent  half  the  after- 
noon in  looking  down  into  this  delightful  sub- 
marine garden.  For  some  time,  not  one  sea- 
flower  was  to  be  seen,  and  then  suddenly 
whole  fields  of  jellies  came  floating  by ;  but  the 
charming  visions  disappeared  all  too  soon.  The 
crisp  waves  began  to  curl,  and  when  we  were 
fairly  away  from  the  influence  of  the  land,  it 
became  very  stormy.  Before  evening  closed  in 
we  were  passed  by  an  old-fashioned  Arabian 
vessel,  called  a  dhowd,  a  strange-looking  craft, 
with  a  very  high  poop,  and  three  tiers  of  port- 
holes. She  looked  like  some  ancient  galley  that 
had  sailed  out  of  a  picture.  The  dhowds  were 
formerly  almost  all  either  slave  or  pirate  ships. 
We  were  not  so  fortunate  as  to  observe  in  this 
sea  any  of  that  ruddy  appearance  which,  in  so 
many  languages,  has  procured  for  it  the  appel- 
lation of  the  Red  Sea.  A  Belgian  savant,  Mon- 
sieur Mossen,  after  collecting  together  nearly  all 
that  had  been  written  on  the  subject  of  red 
water  from  the  days  of  Moses  down  to  our  own, 
gives  a  list  of  twenty-two  species  of  animals,  and 


almost  as  many  plants,  capable  of  communicat- 
ing this  blood  colour.  Some  seas  are  tinged 
with  yellow  instead  of  red.  This  sea  sawdust, 
as  the  sailors  call  it,  is  of  vegetable  origin. 

As  we  passed  into  the  Arabian  Sea,  I  strained 
my  eyes  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  Island  of 
Socotra,  which  has  a  somewhat  curious  history. 
In  very  remote  times  it  had  an  independent 
king,  and  afterwards  became  the  seat  of  con- 
siderable traffic.  It  was  used  as  a  kind  of  store- 
house by  the  merchants  who  traded  between 
Egypt  and  the  East,  and  its  inhabitants  were 
christianized  at  a  very  early  period.  The  low- 
lands of  Socotra  are  now  overrun  by  a  few 
wandering  Arab  tribes,  but  its  hills  are  popu- 
lated by  the  families  of  Bunian  traders,  many 
of  whom  are  rich.  It  exports  large  quantities 
of  aloes.  The  island  enjoys  a  busy  port,  and 
it  is  probable  that  an  active  future  awaits  it. 
It  is  now  thought  to  be  rich  in  coal  fields,  and 
there  is  even  a  whisper  that  it  may  ere  long  be 
occupied  by  British  troops.  Socotra  is  a  hun- 
dred miles  long  by  forty  broad,  and  is  five 
hundred  and  fifty  miles  from  Aden. 

One  morning  the  monotony  of  our  voyage 
was  broken  by  the  appearance  of  a  distant  ship 
making  signals  of  distress.  Our  captain  stopped 
his  vessel,  and  the  strange  barque  put  off  a  boat,, 


which  boarded  us.  It  contained  five  men — an 
Arab  and  four  negroes.  The  Arab,  who  was 
wrapped  up  in  an  ample  bernous,  was  a  tall, 
copper-coloured  man,  with  fine  features;  the 
others  were  negroes  of  the  true  African  type. 
They  had  fine  limbs  and  shapely  heads,  thickly 
covered  with  dusky  hair,  curled  as  tight  as  that 
of  an  Australian  sheep.  Their  skins  were  per- 
fectly black,  and  were  smeared  with  oil.  They 
said  that  they  belonged  to  a  ship  with  a  crew 
of  thirty  men,  bound  from  Zanzibar  to  Jeddo, 
and  that  having  experienced  bad  weather,  they 
had  lost  their  reckoning.  Their  final  request 
was  to  be  informed  as  to  their  position ;  and 
then  they  prayed  for  food  and  water,  the  latter 
of  which  they  declared  that  they  had  not 
tasted  for  six  days.  Our  captain  was  very 
kind,  and  gave  them  two  bags  of  rice  and  a 
barrel  of  water,  at  the  same  time  remarking  that 
they  might  have  brought  with  them  empty 
sacks  and  a  tub.  They  offered  to  pay  in  salt, 
which  they  declared  to  be  all  they  had ;  and 
this  being  declined,  they  rowed  off,  with  small 
demonstrations  of  gratitude.  Were  they  really 
in  want,  or  were  they  sea-beggars  V  This  no 
one  could  decide ;  and  there  were  various 
opinions  upon  the  subject. 

The  days   we  spent   upon   the  Arabian  Sea 


were  pleasant,  but  far  from  eventful,  the  only 
variety  being  the  sight  of  a  few  whales  playing 
about — a  species  of  animal,  which,  though  small 
in  this  sea,  is  exceedingly  pugnacious.     Shoals 
of  porpoises,  with  an  occasional  flight  of  paddy 
birds,  were  all  we   had  to  divert  us;  but  the 
morning  and  evening  skies  were  glorious.    The 
beauty   of  one  particular   night  is    deeply  im- 
pressed  on  my  memory.     The    sun,  a   ball  of 
ardent  red,  was  sinking  into  the  sea,   whilst  in 
the  opposite  direction  the   full   moon,  a  huge 
disk   of  golden   pink,    rose  above  the  horizon. 
The  grand  effect  of  the  mingling  lights  upon 
sea  and  sky  was  indescribable.  I  was  drinking  in 
the  beautiful  scene  with  delight,  when  my  at- 
tention was  attracted  by  a  small  brown  object, 
which  emerged  from  the  waves,  and  which  I 
soon  saw  was  a  flying-fish.     This  was  the  first 
opportunity    I    had   of  seeing   those  beautiful 
little  creatures.     Afterwards  they   were  to  be 
seen   in    numbers.     It   would   be   pleasant    to 
believe  that  the   flying-fish  leave  their  native 
element  in  sport,  but,  alas  !  there  is  no  doubt 
that  their  object  is  to  escape  from  some  danger 
which  threatens  them  in  the  sea  beneath.    They 
are  able  to  support  themselves  in  the  air  only 
as  long  as  their  wings  remain  moist.     If,  how- 
ever,  they  just  touch  the  water   occasionally, 


they  are  capable  of  skimming  along  for  two  or 
three  hundred  yards. 

As  evening  stole  on,  the  upper  deck  was  now 
a  delightful  resort — every  spar,  every  rope  was 
sharply  defined  against  a  clear  green  sky. 
Surely  moonlight  upon  the  sea  is  one  of  the 
most  beautiful  effects  in  nature  ;  still  we  were 
almost  inclined  to  wish  the  Lady  Moon  could 
have  remained  away,  the  large  quiet  stars  being- 
eclipsed  by  her  light,  and  the  luminous  ap- 
pearance generally  seen  upon  the  waves  render- 
ed invisible. 

In  spite  of  her  long  detention  upon  the  Eng- 
lish coast,  and  the  constant  head  winds  which 
she  encountered,  the  brave  Hindoo  accomplished 
her  voyage  in  four  weeks  and  six  days.  We 
entered  the  harbour  of  Bombay  early  in  the 
morning.  Even  with  India  before  me,  I  felt  a 
pang  of  regret  that  the  voyage  was  over.  I  ran 
on  deck,  and  saw  a  great  deal  of  shipping,  two 
or  three  lighthouses,  the  rocky  shore  of  a  bay 
fringed  with  low  buildings,  a  large  low  fort, 
with  a  woody  hill  rising  behind  it,  and  some 
cocoa-nut  trees,  the  forms  of  which  were  seen 
in  clear  outlines  against  the  sky.  I  had  scarcely 
time  to  realize  my  ideas  of  the  promised  land, 
when,  amidst  the  bustle  upon  deck,  I  saw  a 
well-known  form,  I  heard  the  kindest  of  voices, 


and  there  was  G ,  all  anxiety  to  greet  his 

wife  and  children. 

Before  we  well  knew  what  we  were  about, 
we  found  ourselves  at  breakfast  in  a  large  room, 
eating  phomphlets,  a  small  fish,  for  which  Bom- 
bay is  celebrated.  I  did  not  think  much  either 
of  it,  or  of  the  curry  which  followed  ;  but  a  kind 
of  very  thin  biscuit,  served  with  the  latter,  and 
made  of  fish,  which  goes  by  the  name  of  Bom- 
bay duck,  was  novel  and  good. 

The  Esplanade  is  a  monster  hotel.  On  the 
first  floor  is  a  large  verandah,  charmingly  ar- 
ranged with  ferns  and  leafy  plants.  Part  of 
this  was  set  aside  as  a  kind  of  bazaar,  where 
merchants  spread  their  wares.  There  were  all 
sorts  of  ivory  boxes,  inlaid  with  silver,  and  lined 
with  sandal-wood ;  besides  various  articles  in 
black  wood,  carved  in  the  neighbourhood.  (In 
India  each  district  has  its  speciality.)  There  were 
muslins  and  silk  embroidery  from  Delhi,  and 
silver  ornaments  from  Cutch  ;  besides  English 
productions.  In  front  of  the  hotel  there  was  a 
large  green,  or  rather,  a  piece  of  ground  which 
ought  to  have  been  green,  on  which  stood  some 
exceedingly  handsome  public  buildings,  built  of 
rough-hewn  stone.  Endless  streams  of  people 
passed  along  in  gay  costumes  and  large  tur- 
bans.    The  carriages  struck  me  as  strange,  yet 

BOMBAY.  43 

still  familiar,  for  among  them  I  saw  the  bygone 
cabriolet  of  my  youth,  the  risky  little  vehicle 
Avhich  so  suddenly  vanished  to  make  way  for 
the  national  hansom.  I  verily  believe  that  they 
were  the  identical  conveyances  transported 
from  their  native  land  years  ago.  Then  there 
were  shigrams,  and  buggies,  and  unpainted 
broughams ;  besides  the  skeleton  omnibus, 
which  ran  on  a  tramway,  where  people,  shel- 
tered by  an  awning,  appeared  to  be  sitting  upon 
nothing  at  all ;  and,  strangest  of  all,  the  horses 
which  drew  it  had  bonnets  on — not  the  airy 
nothing  of  these  days,  but  the  useful  coal- 
scuttle, which  no  one  but  a  village  goody  now 
condescends  to  wear.  During  the  hot  weather 
the  company  lost  so  many  animals  from  sun- 
stroke, that  they  hit  upon  this  remarkable 

We  had  apartments  on  the  second  story,  large 
airy  rooms,  with  balconies,  very  pleasant  after 
our  tiny  cabins.  We  sank  into  some  easy  rock- 
ing-chairs, and  then,  with  delighted  eyes,  sur- 
veyed the  curiosities  which  Gr had  collected 

during  his  tour.  He  had  been  at  Aden,  and 
brought  from  thence  black  rosaries,  inlaid  with 
white  dots  of  silver,  rosaries  which  had  touched 
the  Caba  stone  at  Mecca,  and  various  other 


I  longed  to  go  out  immediately,  but  one  great 
drawback  in  the  East  is  that  one  is  shorn  of 
one's  liberty,  and  I  had  to  wait  with  all  the 
patience  I  could  command  until  the  sun  was 
low,  when  we  got  into  an  open  carriage  which 
G had  secured,  and  set  off  for  "  the  Stable." 

No  stranger  has  ever  been  half  an  hour  in 
Bombay  without  hearing  of  "the  Stable"  and 
"  the  Gulf."  Fortunately  for  me  the  stable  was 
situated  at  the  very  end  of  the  bazaar,  in  the 
heart  of  the  native  town.  Thither  we  were 
bound,  in   order   to   see   a   recent  purchase  of 

G 's,  a  pair  of  Arab  horses,  fresh  from  the 

Persian  Gulf,  and  he  had  no  unwilling  com- 
panion in  M.,  who  dearly  loves  a  horse.  We 
passed  through  the  modern  town,  which  is 
full  of  fine  buildings,  public  offices,  and  private 
houses.  Handsome  equipages  rolled  along,  but 
the  tall  black  men,  with  peculiar  liveries  and 
naked  feet,  who  stood  behind  each  well-appoint- 
ed carriage,  had  a  strange  appearance.  The 
reclining  ladies  were  such  as  may  be  seen  any 
fine  afternoon  in  Hyde  Park  or  the  Bois.  Far 
more  interesting  were  the  numbers  of  Parsi 
women  who  were  walking  about  in  short  satin 
skirts  of  the  most  brilliant  hues — an  exquisite 
pale  cherry  and  an  emerald  green  appeared  to 
be  the  favourite  colours — flowers  were  in  their 


glossy  black  hah',  and  they  wore  quantities  of 
gold  lace  and  handsome  ornaments.  Though 
very  showy,  these  costumes  were  tasteless  in 
form.  The  Parsi  men,  who  are  very  tall  and 
stout,  wear  a  straight-cut  robe  of  purest  white, 
without  a  sash,  a  dress  well  calculated  to  show 
off  the  rotundity  of  their  persons.  They  have 
sly  eyes,  fat,  oily  faces,  and  a  well-to-do  air. 
The  Parsis,  in  fact,  are  the  Jews  of  the  East, 
many  of  them  being  very  rich.* 

We  drove  past  a  considerable  space  of  ground 

*  The  Parsis  claim  to  be  descended  from  the  Medes,  who 
furnished  the  princely  caste  of  the  old  Persian  Empire. 
They  are  refugees,  followers  of  Zoroaster,  who  refused  to 
adopt  the  religion  which  the  conquering  Arabs  endeavoured 
to  enforce  at  the  point  of  sword,  when,  in  the  middle  of  the 
seventh  century,  they  invaded  Persia  under  Caliph  Omar. 
After  many  voyages  and  adventures,  these  Avanderers  ar- 
rived on  the  coast  of  Guzerat,  and  were  well  received  by 
the  ruler  of  that  part  of  India.  Before  granting  them  £>ro- 
tection,  the  chief  asked  them  the  nature  of  their  faith,  upon 
which  the  wily  Persians  declared  that  they  worshipped  the 
sun  and  fire  elements,  as  well  as  the  cow ;  that  they  wore 
the  sacred  shirt,  a  cincture  round  the  loins,  a  cap  of  two 
folds,  and  that  they  ornamented  and  perfumed  their  wives ; 
upon  which  they  were  allowed  to  settle  in  India.  They 
were,  however,  required  to  dress  their  females  in  the  Indian 
fashion,  to  wear  no  armour,  to  perform  the  marriage  cere- 
mony of  their  children  at  night,  and  to  wear  the  hideous 
Guzerat  cap  of  two  folds.  All  which  they  steadfastly  do 
now,  although  it  is  nearly  twelve  centuries  since  the  com- 
pact was  made. 


which  is  set  aside  for  garrison  sports.  Many 
gentlemen  on  nimble  ponies  were  playing  at 
polo,  a  game  which  requires  great  quickness  of 
eye,  and  is  dangerous  as  far  as  concerns  the 
ponies,  who  are  frequently  lamed  for  life.  Polo 
was  originally  an  Indian  game,  which  was  play- 
ed by  certain  hill  tribes. 

When  we  reached  the  native  town  how 
changed  was  the  scene.  Europe  was  left  be- 
hind, and  the  East  was  realized — the  narrow, 
winding  streets,  the  open  shops,  small,  but 
highly  characteristic,  where  the  owner,  Hindoo, 
Mahomedan,  or  Jew,  squatted  amidst  his  wares. 
Those  of  the  same  trade  congregated  together, 
the  workers  in  brass  and  copper,  with  bright 
vessels  of  curious  shape,  such  as  the  lato,  with 
its  narrow  neck  and  bulging  sides,  the  lamp  of 
many  beaks,  the  little  bells,  with  images  at  the 
top,  used  in  the  temples.  Then  there  are  the 
leather  workers,  from  whom  one  may  select  em- 
broidered slippers,  turned  up  at  the  point, 
saddle-bags,  and  trappings  for  horses,  covered 
with  gold,  and  silver,  and  cowrie  shells.  There 
were  rows  of  wood-carvers,  who  work  upon  the 
black  wood  furniture  peculiar  to  the  Bombay 
Presidency,  and  fine  specimens  of  their  art  were 
placed  about  to  attract  attention.  The  general 
merchant  had  his  small  store,  heaped  from  floor 


to  ceiling  with  bales  of  cloth,  gaudy  shawls,  and 
cottons,  with  various  patterns  printed  upon 
them,  vases,  and  griffins,  and  pagodas,  for  furni- 
ture, and  dark  but  deep-hued  checks  and  stripes 
for  garments.  There  were  little  niches  where 
betel-leaves  and  pungent  seeds  were  sold,  and, 
most  picturesque  of  all,  were  the  shops  of  the 
Indian  druggists,  where  one  was  sure  to  see  a 
venerable  old  man  with  a  flowing  white  beard; 
probably  a  learned  man,  and  one  who  possibly 
dabbled  in  magic,  his  drugs  ranged  about  in 
jars  of  china,  which  would  have  made  the 
fortune  of  a  European  bric-a-brac  shop.  By 
a  Christian  these  jars  were  not,  alas!  to  be 
bought  for  love  or  money. 

No  two  houses  were  alike,  some  were  tall 
and  pink,  others  were  squat  and  yellow,  and  both 
perhaps  were  neighboured  by  dwellings  of  a 
superior  order,  which  stood  back,  not  hidden, 
but  sheltered  by  plantain-trees,  and  tall  cocoa- 
nut  palms,  spreading  their  elegant  fan-shaped 
leaves  against  a  crimson  background,  for  the 
fervid  sun  was  setting.  These  houses  had  in 
general  two  tiers  of  wooden  verandahs,  with 
shutters.  The  ground-floor  was  partly  open, 
and  supported  by  pillars  of  wood,  richly  carved, 
and  on  the  projecting  beams  and  latticed  frames 
there  was  many  a  quaint  device.  I  was  charmed 


with  these  irregular  old  dwellings.  A  dead 
wall,  with  the  pyramidal  summit  of  a  Jaina 
temple  appearing  above  it,  would  vary  the  scene, 
or  a  mosque,  with  broad  dome  and  airy  pinnacles, 
and  sometimes  we  came  upon  a  Hindoo  temple, 
adorned  with  highly-coloured  mythological  sub- 
jects, with  lights  in  its  interior,  which  cast  a 
glow  upon  some  hideous  copper  idol,  or  figure 
of  stone,  daubed  with  red  paint,  and  greasy 
with  libations  of  melted  butter.  Every  step 
was  a  surprise. 



Hindoo  Women — Arabian  Beauties — Kites  of  Betrothal — 
Funeral  Procession — English  Chambermaids  in  India 
— Flower-market — Jain  Establishments  for  Superan- 
nuated Animals — Drive  to  Malabar  Point — A  Brah- 
man Village — The  Esplanade — Island  and  Temples  of 
Elephanta — Description  of  one  of  the  Temples — The 
Three-faced  God — Sculptured  Figures — Rock  Temples 
— Curious  Ants'  Nest — Western  Ghats. 

THE  appearance  of  the  Hindoo  women  was 
very  striking,  with  their  tall  forms,  digni- 
fied gait,  and  classical  drapery  of  dingy  blue  or 
red,  relieved  by  a  bright  bordering.  Many  of 
them  balanced  baskets  or  brass  vessels  upon 
their  heads,  their  shapely  arms  straight  down, 
unless  they  bore  infants,  and  then  the  wee 
thing  was  placed  astride  on  the  mother's  well- 
developed  hip.  Older  children,  bronze  or  black, 
played  in  the  gutters,  or  swarmed  about  the 
houses — wild  creatures,  innocent  of  clothes, 
with  flashing  eyes  and  unkempt  hair,  adorned 
with  a  variety  of  ornaments.  The  girls  wore 
necklaces,  armlets,  and  anklets,  and  the  boys 
VOL.  I.  E 


had  silver  waist-chains  of  beautiful  workman- 
ship. These  ornaments  are  of  considerable 
value,  the  metal  of  which  they  are  made  being 
very  pure.  They  are,  however,  dangerous  pos- 
sessions. There  is  seldom  a  newspaper  in 
which  there  is  not  a  notice  or  advertisement 
respecting  some  child  who  has  been  inveigled 
away,  and  either  robbed  or  murdered.* 

When  we  reached  "the  Stables/'  the  Arab 
beauties  were  trotted  out  to  be  admired.  They 
were  gentle  creatures,  with  small  heads,  delicate 
ears,  liquid  eyes,  and  red  nostrils,  and  appeared 
to  appreciate  the  caresses  bestowed  upon  them. 
As  we  returned,  we  were  fortunate  enough  to 
see  a  curious  phase  of  Indian  life.  The  month 
and  the  conjunction  of  the  planets  being  favour- 
able, there  were  numbers  of  Hindoo  marriages, 

*  The  advertisements  run  as  follows : — 

"  Robbing  a  Boy  of  an  Ornament. — Curson  Hurjee, 
living  at  Nagdavee  Street,  stated  that,  Avhilst  his  son,  aged 
seven  years,  was  playing  opposite  to  his  house  on  Thursday, 
some  Mahomedan  enticed  him  away  to  Beebee-jan  Street, 
and  took  from  him  a  silver  waist-chain,  valued  at  six 

"  Baboo  Butta  reports  that  on  Wednesday  he  went  to 
the  Temple  of  Jeevun  Lall,  at  Bhooleshwur,  carrying  his 
child  in  his  arms.  When  passing  through  a  crowd  at  the 
door  of  the  temple,  some  person  had  cut  off  from  the  child's 
person  a  gold  ornament,  called  Ram  Namee,  valued  at 
twenty  rupees.     Inquiries  are  being  made  by  the  police." 


or,  to  speak  more  correctly,  betrothals.  By  the 
rite  of  betrothal  the  connubial  knot  is  tightly 
tied,  and  all  the  necessary  ceremonies  and  feasts 
take  place.  Amongst  the  higher  castes  it  is  a 
rule  that  a  boy  may  be  married  at  any  time 
after  he  has  been  invested  with  the  sacred 
thread,  which  must  take  place  before  he  is  eight 
years  of  age,  for  before  that  time  he  is  not  con- 
sidered to  belong  to  the  Hindoo  religion,  or  to 
be  a  member  of  his  father's  caste.  The  girl 
must  not  be  married  before  she  is  ten  years  old, 
and  her  age  must  be  less  than  that  of  her  hus- 
band. The  principal  ceremonies  are,  the  writ- 
ing by  astrologers  of  the  names  of  the  parties, 
and  the  day  and  hour  when  the  wedding  is  to 
take  place  ;  the  walking  round  a  fire  three  times, 
seven  steps  at  each  time  ;  the  tying  together 
the  garments  of  the  contracting  parties  ;  and  the 
Homa,  or  burnt  sacrifice,  after  which  the  con- 
tract is  indissolvable.  The  girl  is  given  away 
by  the  father  in  his  own  house,  where  the  bride 
continues  to  reside  for  a  few  days,  after  which 
she  lives  with  her  husband's  family,  at  their 
expense.  It  was  most  amusing  to  see  the  little 
brides  and  bridegrooms  on  horseback,  heading 
gay  processions  of  relations  and  friends,  in 
which  silk  umbrellas  fringed  with  gold  bore  a 
prominent   part,    the    little    people    appearing 

E  2 


gaudier  than  butterflies  in  their  spangled  mus- 
lins and  streaming  ribbons.  As  for  the  horses, 
which  I  saw  standing  before  some  houses  wait- 
ing for  married  couples,  they  were  scarcely 
visible,  being  covered  with  velvet  housings, 
gilded  trappings,  feathers,  and  wreaths  of 
flowers.  The  short  Indian  twilight  being  over, 
the  open  chambers,  the  verandahs,  the  gardens, 
were  brilliantly  illuminated.  We  could  see  the 
guests,  and  hear  the  discordant  music.  Rockets 
shot  up  into  the  sky,  and  broke  into  balls  of 
brilliant  colours ;  crackers  exploded  in  every 
corner,  and  Bengal  lights  tinged  all  around  with 
their  vivid  hues.  The  natives  have  a  passion 
for  fireworks,  without  which  no  merry-making 
is  complete. 

In  the  midst  of  this  festivity  our  carriage 
had  to  stop,  in  order  to  make  way  for  a  small 
procession  of  men,  each  of  whom  carried  a 
blazing  torch.  The  light  danced  over  the  face 
of  a  dead  man,  whom  they  were  carrying  along 
to  the  funeral  pyre.  As  the  bier  passed,  we 
caught  the  overpoweringly  sweet  odour  of  the 
Indian  jessamine,  which  the  Hindoos  place  in 
the  hands  of  the  dying,  and  wreath  round  the 
dead.  I  went  to  rest  that  night  feverish  with 
excitement ;  shadows  of  all  that  I  had  seen 
during  the  past  six  weeks  floated  before  me, 


and  then  I  fell  into  a  deep  sleep,  for  an  airy 
chamber  and  a  roomy  bed  are  very  delightful 
after  a  close  cabin  and  a  small  berth. 

There  is  surely  no  sensation  more  pleasant 
than  that  which  attends  the  first  awaking  in 
a  strange  country.  My  slumbers  were  inter- 
rupted at  an  early  hour  by  the  vociferous  sing- 
ing of  a  bird.  I  at  once  concluded  that  the 
charming  notes  were  those  of  the  far-famed 
bul-bul,  and  jumped  up  in  haste,  in  order  to  see 
what  the  bird  was  like ;  but,  alas  !  the  opening 
of  the  lattice  put  an  end  to  the  song,  and  the 
only  feathered  creature  I  could  see  was  a  hand- 
some brown  scavenger-hawk,  which  sailed  off 
with  a  shrill  cry.  A  man  was  slopping  water 
in  a  primitive  manner  over  a  would-be  green 
plot ;  further  away  lay  the  sleepy  blue  sea,  and 
low  woods,  which  sloped  gently  to  the  curving 
bay.  Presently  there  entered  a  very  black  girl, 
swathed  in  dingy  white  muslin,  bearing  an 
earthenware  pitcher  of  peculiar  form.  She  was 
adorned  with  numerous  ornaments,  including  a 
large  filigree  nose-ring,  and  several  rings  of  a 
smaller  description,  set  along  the  rim  of  each 
ear,  a  pretty  silver  necklace,  and  on  her  arms 
slender  hoops  of  sparkling  red  and  semi-trans- 
parent green  glass,  which,  worn  by  a  lady, 
might  have  passed  for  ruby  and  jade-stone.     It 


is  wonderful  how  these  people  contrive  to  pass 
rings  so  small  over  their  knuckles.  It  would  be 
impossible  were  their  bones  like  those  of  Euro- 
peans, but,  being  half  gristle,  they  are  in  some 
degree  compressible. 

The  managers  of  the  hotel  had,  at  one  time,  a 
great  wish  to  have  English  chambermaids,  and, 
the  story  goes,  that  they  induced  a  band  of 
sixty  young  girls  to  come  from  England,  but 
every  one  of  them  got  married  within  a  month 
of  their  landing,  and  the  experiment  was  not 

repeated.     G kindly  took   me   to  see  the 

markets  before  the  heat  had  tarnished  the  early 
beauty  of  the  flowers  and  fruit.  We  got  into 
one  of  the  skeleton  omnibuses,  and  found  it  a  cool 
and  clean  conveyance.  The  little  transit  might 
have  been  the  making  of  us,  for  on  alighting  we 
were  presented  with  a  couple  of  lottery  tickets. 
We  found  the  markets  exquisitely  clean  and 
admirably  arranged.  The  flower,  fruit,  and 
vegetable  market  is  a  circular  building,  lighted 
from  above,  which  encloses  a  beautiful  public 

Never  had  I  seen  such  a  luxurious  profusion 
of  beautiful  flowers  and  fruits  as  was  set  forth 
upon  the  white  marble  slabs,  which  sloped  up 
on  each  side  of  the  broad  promenade,  which  was 
thronged,  not  crowded,  by  endless    streams  of 


people,  in  strange  costumes  and  gay  apparel, 
ever  passing  into  strange  combinations,  like  the 
bits  of  coloured  glass  in  a  kaleidoscope.  There 
were  pyramids  of  flowers,  not  set  forth  in  the 
European  fashion,  but  picked  with  little  stem 
and  no  leaves,  and  heaped  up  carelessly.  There 
were  lovely  pale  pink  roses,  and  an  endless 
variety  of  double  jessamine  flowers,  pink  and 
white,  probably  destined  to  be  threaded  toge- 
ther for  the  adornment  of  the  temples.  The 
tuberoses  were  almost  too  sweet.  There  were 
gorgeous  hillocks  of  the  double  yellow  mari- 
gold, to  be  woven  into  coronets  for  women, 
their  intense  colour  being  well  calculated  to  set 
off  the  dark  skins  and  shiny  black  hair  which 
they  were  meant  to  adorn.  Some  of  the  smaller 
flowers  and  fragrant  leaves,  made  into  tiny 
sprigs,  were  intended  to  be  thrown  into  the 
finger-glasses  which  figure  at  every  Anglo- 
Indian's  meal,  the  lemon-scented  verbena  being 
often  employed  for  this  purpose.  Glowing 
fruits  peeped  forth  from  beds  of  cool  green 
leaves.  The  more  delicate  sorts  were  placed  in 
wicker  baskets,  artistically  lined  with  pieces  of 
the  plantain  leaf  cut  into  shape.  We  bought  one 
of  these  little  boats,  with  its  cargo  of  dull-hued 
lilac  figs,  luscious  and  small,  with  just  one  tear  of 
liquid  sugar  upon  each— the  true  goutte  tfor. 


Among  the  fruits  with  which  I  was  familiar, 
were  many  species  which  I  had  never  seen 
before ;  but  to  enumerate  them  would  be 
tedious.  The  vegetables  were  of  infinite  variety, 
including  gourds  of  the  most  grotesque  forms, 
which  Nature  must  have  imagined  in  a  mirthful 
hour.  Some  of  them  were  intended  for  eating, 
but  others  would  be  carefully  cleaned  out,  and 
the  hard  rinds  converted  into  vessels  for  water, 
and  other  liquids.  The  capsicums  and  chillis 
were  curious  and  pretty,  some  being  large,  shiny, 
and  intensely  green,  while  others  were  small 
and  red  and  pointed,  and  made  one  hot  to  look 
at  them.  There  were  many  varieties  of  the 
egg-plant,  some  of  them  white  and  smooth  like 
ivory,  others  resembling  balls  of  gold ;  and  the 
long  purple  aubergines  were  very  handsome.  I 
could  have  spent  hours  with  satisfaction  in  these 
markets,  which  were  the  finest  I  had  ever  seen ; 
but  time  pressed,  and  we  passed  into  the  interior 
garden,  a  charming,  cool,  and  verdant  spot,  in 
which  there  were  numerous  varieties  of  the 
palm  tribe,  all  sorts  of  velvety,  long-leaved 
plants,  and  trembling  ferns  of  exquisite  beauty. 
It  was  strange  to  see  caneless  clumps  of  the 
caladium  of  tender  green,  spotted  with  white 
and  red,  along  with  other  plants,  only  at  home 
to  be  seen  in  a  hot-house,  where  one  lingers  for  a 


moment,  in  mortal  dread  of  catching  one's  death 
of  cold  on  again  breathing  the  raw  air  outside. 
I  should  have  liked  to  have  explored  the  fish 
mai-ket,  which  no  doubt  contained  many  curious 
and  strange  varieties  ;  but  the  sun  was  up,  and 
as  we  hesitated  at  the  door  of  the  market,  we 
perceived  that  its  atmosphere  was  not  as 
odoriferous  as  that  of  the  floral  Paradise  which 
we  had  quitted. 

I  had  a  great  wish  to  visit  one  of  the  Hindoo 
— or,  rather,  Jain — establishments  for  super- 
annuated animals.  There  was  something  very 
pleasing  in  the  idea  of  such  a  refuge  for  these 
poor  creatures.  Alas  !  I  found,  on  inquiry,  that 
the  originally  humane  intention  had  degenerated 
into  a  mere  superstition,  and  that  such  institu- 
tions are  now  farmed  out,  and  their  inmates 
much  neglected.  In  the  rural  districts  the 
natives  are,  I  believe,  as  a  rule,  kind  to  their 
animals  ;  but  in  large  towns  the  bullocks  and 
horses  are  sadly  maltreated.  The  society  for  the 
protection  of  animals,  lately  established  in  Bom- 
bay, has,  however,  done  a  good  deal,  locally,  to 
amend  their  condition.  The  society  has  also 
taken  under  its  protection  the  snakes,  and  some 
other  small  creatures,  which  are  frightfully  tor- 
mented by  the  conjurers.  At  breakfast  I  was 
much  laughed  at  respecting  my  Indian  night- 


ingale,  which  turned  out  to  be  a  canary,  whose 
cage  my  neighbour,  an  elderly  gentleman,  put 
out  every  morning  on  his  balcony. 

The  prettiest  drive  about  Bombay  is  to  Mala- 
bar Point.  We  set  off  towards  it  as  day  de- 
clined, stopping  en  route  to  do  some  necessary 
shopping  at  an  immense  store  called  Treacher's, 
one  of  those  tiresome  labyrinths  where  one  has 
to  walk  a  quarter  of  a  mile,  and  be  put  in  the 
right  path  half  a  dozen  times,  in  order  to  pur- 
chase a  packet  of  pins  or  a  skein  of  silk.  There 
is  a  co-operative  society  in  Bombay,  but  the 
managers  and  the  shareholders  do  nothing  but 
dispute  ;  and  as  the  prices  are  high,  and  the 
articles  of  inferior  quality,  it  is  probable  that  its 
existence  will  be  short.  Of  the  two  roads  that 
lead  to  the  Point,  we  took  the  higher  in  going 
and  returned  by  the  shore.  Not  so  very  many 
years  ago,  Malabar  Hill  was  an  unwholesome 
jungle  of  palms,  with  a  thick  undergrowth  of 
prickly  bushes.  It  is  now  partially  cleared,  and 
has  become  a  fashionable  quarter  of  low,  far- 
spreading  white  houses,  which  are  surrounded 
by  beautiful  grounds,  and  shaded  by  the  tall 
trees  of  the  original  jungle.  I  was  well  ac- 
quainted with  the  date-palm,  but  not  so  with 
its  cocoa-nut  rival,  which,  with  its  splendid 
fan-like  leaves,  is  in  many  respects  the  finest  of 


the  two.  The  thin  and  slightly-curved  stein 
of  the  latter  is,  however,  a  drawback  upon  its 
merits.  Massed  together,  they  had  a  very  fine 
effect  as  they  stood  out  dark  against  the  red 

It  was  curious  to  see  the  agility  with  which 
the  natives  climbed  the  cylindrical  stems,  using 
their  flexible  feet  as  a  second  pair  of  hands,  and 
sliding  down  with  amazing  rapidity.  There  is 
a  celebrated  tank  upon  Malabar  Hill,  which 
interested  me  much,  as  it  was  the  first  I  had 
seen  of  these  ornamental  sheets  of  water, 
so  intimately  connected  with  the  religious  and 
domestic  life  of  the  Hindoo  people.  It  was 
enclosed  by  walls  with  highly  ornamental 
balustrades,  from  which  broad  flights  of  steps 
descended.  It  was  shaded  by  tall  peepul-trees 
and  far-spreading  banyans  with  numerous  roots, 
under  which  rose  groups  of  pagodas,  and  a 
Brahman  village,  the  little  white  houses  of 
which  were  inhabited  by  the  priests  and  their 
families.  Every  Brahman  is  a  priest.  It  was 
a  very  pretty  scene.  The  Government  house  at 
Malabar  Point  is  a  square  building  of  imposing 

size.     G thought  that  I  might  like  to  visit 

it,  but  to  my  mind  a  modern  palace,  with 
nothing  particular  in  its  interior,  presented  few 
attractions,  and  I  was  desirous  of  employing  the 


golden  hours  in  driving  round  by  the  towers  of 
silence,  the  fine  temples,  and  in  observing  the 
general  aspect  of  the  country. 

The  Point  was  a  savage-looking  spot,  swept 
by  the  burning  wind.  All  vegetation  had 
ceased,  but  the  wet  season  was  advanced,  and 
possibly  after  the  rains  a  change  for  the  better 
might  come  over  the  spot  which  now  appeared 
to  be  so  desolate.  The  fort  is  long,  narrow, 
and  low,  but  its  hidden  strength  is  great.  It 
has  been  altered  indeed  since  the  days  of  Cap- 
tain Cook,  who  found  it  "  a  pretty  well-seated 
but  ill-fortified  house."  Four  guns  of  brass 
were  then  the  whole  defence  of  the  island.  It 
has  an  ugly  shore,  piled  up  with  splintered  pieces 
of  rock,  which  not  even  the  eternal  beating  of 
the  waves  has  rendered  less  angular.  Even 
the  black  sea-weed  refuses  to  cling  to  the  hard 
ungenial  basalt,  and  gets  washed  into  crevices, 
where  it  petrifies.  The  celebrated  Esplanade  is 
a  fine  drive,  commanding  a  glorious  view  over 
the  rosy  sea  when  the  sun  dips  below  the  hori- 
zon. As  we  passed  along  it  we  saw  plenty  of 
handsome  carriages,  elegant  toilettes,  and  well- 
mounted  equestrians. 

Our  last  day  in  Bombay  was  spent  in  visiting 
the  island  and  rock-cut  temples  of  Elephanta ; 
and  as  G wished  to  show  a  little  attention 


to  some  of  our  fellow-passengers  who  still  lin- 
gered on  at  the  hotel,  a  party  was  made  up, 
and  a  steam-launch  secured,  which  was  well 
supplied  with  light  refreshments  and  iced 
drinks.  We  set  out  with  light  hearts  to  enjoy 
ourselves.  The  island  of  Elephanta  is  about 
six  miles  from  Bombay,  and  we  sped  gaily  to- 
wards it  over  the  crisp  waves.  Visitors  had 
formerly  to  be  carried  on  shore  if  the  tide  was 
low,  but  this  is  no  longer  necessary,  as  a  long 
jetty  has  been  thrown  out,  formed  of  great 
square  blocks  of  concrete,  which,  in  order  to 
humour  the  waves,  have  been  placed  half  a  foot 
apart.  Our  transit  over  them  was  not  pleasant, 
for  they  were  covered  with  fine  green  sea-weed, 
which  was  very  slippery.  At  high  tide  the  islet 
is  but  three  miles  in  circumference,  but  at  low 
water  the  sea  retreats  so  much  that  its  area  is 
doubled.  It  is  formed  of  a  mighty  volcanic 
mountain,  which  has  thrown  up  two  lofty 
craterous  peaks.  The  excavations  are  in  the 
grip  between  them.  The  ascent  would  have 
been  toilsome  had  not  the  winding  road  been 
cut  into  wide  steps,  now  worn  into  hollows  by 
the  feet  of  the  pilgrims  and  the  devotees  who 
at  certain  periods  repair  to  the  island  in  order 
to  worship  at  its  famous  shrines.  In  the  Spring 
of  the  year  a  great  fair  is  held  in  the  very 
temple  itself. 


Cut  through  forest  and  jungle,  nothing  could 
be  more  romantic  and  beautiful  than  the  scenery. 
Tall  palms  of  different  species  all  but  met  over- 
head. There  were  numbers  of  the  fig  tribe, 
glossy  and  green,  and  tall  grapes  and  strange 
plants  grew  at  their  feet,  dead  and  brown,  but 
perfect  in  form.  The  stems  of  great  creepers 
coiled  snake-like  round  many  a  tree  which  they 
would  ultimately  strangle  ;  others  were  knotted 
into  the  most  intricate  tangles,  and  their  stream- 
ing tendrils  swept  down  to  the  very  ground. 
Some  men  of  very  wild  appearance  offered 
beetles  for  sale,  but  I  did  not  purchase  any, 
which  I  have  always  regretted,  as  they  were 
very  beautiful,  looking  like  frosted  gold.  I  was 
told  that  they  would  die  in  an  hour,  and,  like 
Aladdin's  glittering  fruit,  fade  into  a  dull  grey 
hue.  The  same  men  had  also  handfuls  of  the 
seed  of  the  liquorice  plant,  scarlet  berries  with 
a  black  spot,  which  jewellers  once  used  in  their 
tiny  scales,  and  which  the  natives  are  fond  of 
stringing  into  necklaces. 

At  last  we  reached  the  plateau  which  was  our 
destination.  It  was  a  sylvan  scene,  a  green 
spot,  in  the  midst  of  which  stood  the  rude  hut 
of  a  forest  keeper.  Some  pretty  white  goats 
were  playing  about  with  their  kids,  and  a  group 
of  magnificent  trees  spread  a  shade  which  was 


very  welcome  after  our  hot  walk.  We  had  to 
pay  a  fee  in  order  to  be  free  of  the  caves  ;  the 
money  is  so  collected  in  order  to  prevent  impo- 
sition on  the  part  of  the  guides.  After  certain 
sums  are  deducted,  the  remainder  is  distributed 
among  the  different  charitable  institutions  in 
Bombay.  A  couple  of  men  were  told  off  in 
order  to  accompany  us,  and  to  see  that  we  did 
no  mischief,  which  duty  they  fulfilled  by  lying 
down  in  a  corner,  and  going  fast  to  sleep. 

We  suddenly  came  upon  a  high  craggy  face 
of  black  rock,  half  concealed  by  bushes,  and  in 
the  dim  obscurity  caught  sight  of  the  front  of 
the  mysterious  temple,  which  the  natives  attri- 
bute to  the  shadowy  sons  of  Pandu.  A  curious 
thrill  shot  through  me  as  I  bowed  my  head 
under  a  streaming  fringe  of  hanging  plants,  and 
stood  amidst  the  strange  gods  of  this  great 
branch  of  the  Aryan  race,  so  far  separated  from 
me  by  religion  and  country,  and  yet  to  whom  I 
was  bound  by  a  common  ancestry.  It  is  a  spot 
calculated  to  inspire  awe.  In  its  dark  recesses 
many  a  human  sacrifice  has  doubtless  been 
offered  up.  The  jagged  roof  is  supported  by 
pillars,  the  shafts  of  which,  though  symmetrically 
shaped,  are  rough-hewn,  as  if  to  contrast  more 
effectually  with  the  finely-polished  surface  of  the 
black  basalt  above,  which  bulges  out  into  beau- 


tiful  flutings,  compressed  in  more  than  one 
place  by  fillets  of  large  beads  or  sharp-cut  leaves. 
The  capitals  represent  cushions  with  tassels,  on 
which  rest  the  great  beams  cut  from  the  ceiling. 
With  the  usual  irregularity  of  Eastern  art,  the 
columns  are  placed  at  unequal  distances,  a  cir- 
cumstance which,  strange  to  say,  does  not  de- 
tract from  the  general  harmony;  indeed  it  is 
only  upon  examination  that  the  fact  is  dis- 

The  temple  has  two  wings  or  side  chapels, 
independent  excavations,  which  stand  back,  and 
have  no  direct  communication  with  it.  It  would 
require  an  abler  pen  than  mine,  and  a  far 
greater  knowledge  of  the  subject  than  I  possess, 
to  attempt  any  regular  description  of  this 
curiously-wrought  rock  cave.  I  can  only  speak 
with  authority  of  the  effect  its  salient  points 
produced  upon  my  mind,  in  which  profound 
interest,  wonder,  and  a  certain  kind  of  admira- 
tion, struggled  with  some  feeling  akin  to  fear. 
I  do  not  think  that  I  could  have  borne  to  have 
been  left  alone  in  this  twilight  place,  with  the 
stony  eyes  of  the  assembled  gods  fixed  upon 
me.  I  should  have  fancied  that  the  thousand 
eyes  of  Indra  regarded  me  with  displeasure  ; 
that  Vishnu's  third  organ  of  vision,  which  is  to 
burst  into  fire  and  consume  the  world,  had  be- 


gun  to  kindle ;  that  the  hooded  cobra  twined 
about  his  arm  was  uncoiling,  or  that  streams 
were  trickling  from  the  deity's  wave-crested 
head-dress,  the  cradle  of  the  three  rivers  which 
united  form  the  sacred  flood-tormented  Ganges. 

Fortunately  I  was  not  alone.  I  shook  myself 
free  from  such  nightmare  fancies,  and  hastened 
to  join  my  companions,  who  were  assembled 
in  full  conclave  before  the  Trimurti,  a  three- 
faced  bust,  which  is  infinitely  solemn  and  digni- 
fied. The  faces  represent  Brahma,  the  creator ; 
Vishnu,  the  preserver ;  and  Shiva,  the  destroyer. 
They  are  very  grave,  and  seem  to  look  at  you 
sternly,  as  if  offended  that  you  do  not  bow 
down  and  adore  them,  as  millions  of  our  race 
have  done  before. 

Every  available  part  of  the  temple  is  sculp- 
tured in  high  relief  with  mythological  figures, 
colossal  in  comparison  with  human  beings,  but, 
for  aught  1  know,  they  may  be  miniature  re- 
presentations of  the  gods  themselves.  The 
scenes  depicted  are  explained  only  by  the 
wildest  stories  which  can  possibly  be  conceived. 
Both  these  and  the  distorted  figures  I  at  first 
felt  to  be  distasteful,  but  this  feeling  partly 
wore  away  when  I  came  to  be  better  acquainted 
with  their  hidden  meaning.  The  Sinya  chapel, 
placed  in  the  principal  temple,  is  a  large  square 

VOL.  I.  F 


erection,  with  four  doorways,  but  the  doors 
themselves  are  gone.  There,  on  a  raised  plat- 
form of  black  basalt,  worn  by  the  feet  of  mil- 
lions of  worshippers,  stands  the  cone,  the  em- 
blem of  this  most  ancient  worship.  Gigantic 
figures  in  high  relief,  two  and  two,  guard  every 
entrance,  each  attended  by  a  hideous  dwarf. 
These  figures  are  exceedingly  interesting,  as 
they  probably  embody  some  ancient  idea  re- 
specting the  early  Aryan  warriors,  the  dwarfs, 
of  course,  representing  the  conquered  abori- 
gines. In  one  of  the  side  chapels  traces  of 
paint  remain — simple  squares  of  red  and  white, 
set  together  in  a  board — and  from  underneath 
the  chapel  a  spring  of  pure  water  still  bubbles 
up,  and  forms  a  pool,  which  no  doubt  has  for 
centuries  been  used  as  a  bathing-place  by  de- 
votees and  pilgrims.  After  all,  these  excava- 
tions are  not  very  old,  competent  judges  be- 
lieving them  to  have  been  executed  between 
the  eighth  and  tenth  centuries  of  the  Christian 

Mr.  Fergusson  has  made  some  remarks  re- 
specting vast  caves  in  general,  which  are  very 
much  to  the  point.*     Though  so  deeply  inter- 

*  "Considerable  misconception  exists  on  the  subject  of 
cutting  temples  in  the  rock.  Almost  everyone  who  sees 
these  temples  is  struck  with  the  apparently  prodigious 


ested  in  these  caves,  they  cast  a  shade  upon  my 
spirits,  and  aroused  feelings  of  gloom  and  sad- 
ness which  I  was  unable  to  define,  and  I  was 
glad  to  step  forth  into  the  cheerful  light  of  day, 
to  see  the  bright  sea  glitter,  and  hear  the  twit- 
ter of  birds  and  the  hum  of  insects. 

There  are  some  smaller  excavations  scattered 
over  the  island,,  supposed  to  have  been  cells 
inhabited  by  hermits.  With  the  exception  of 
a  few  Government  officers  and  their  followers, 
no  one  now  resides  at  Elephanta.  It  has  been 
deserted  in  consequence  of  the  extreme  insalu- 

amount  of  labour  bestowed  on  their  excavations.  In  real- 
ity, however,  it  is  considerably  less  expensive  to  excavate  a 
temple  than  to  build  one.  Take,  for  instance,  the  Kylas 
(Ellora),  the  most  wonderful  of  all  this  class.  To  excavate 
the  area  on  which  it  stands  would  require  the  removal  of 
about  100,000  cubic  yards  of  rock  ;  but  as  the  base  of  the 
temple  is  solid,  and  the  superstructure  massive,  it  occupies 
in  round  numbers  one  half  of  the  excavated  area,  so  that 
the  question  is  simply  this — whether  it  is  easier  to  chip 
aAvay  50,000  yards  of  rock,  and  shoot  it  to  spoil  (to  borrow 
a  railway  term)  down  a  hillside,  or  to  quarry  50,000  cubic 
yards  of  stone,  remove  it  probably  a  mile,  at  least,  to  the 
place  where  the  temple  is  to  be  built,  and  then  to  raise  and 
set  it  up.  The  excavating  process  would  probably  ^ost 
about  one-tenth  of  the  other.  The  sculpture  and  ornament 
would  be  the  same  in  both  instances,  more  especially  in 
India,  where  buildings  are  always  set  up  in  block,  and  the 
carvings  executed  in  situ" — Fergusson's  Hand-book  of 



brity  of  the  rice-bearing  swamps  at  the  foot  of 
the  mountain.  As  we  strolled  along  the  jungle 
paths,  a  member  of  our  party,  a  keen  sportsman, 
made  an  arrangement  with  one  of  the  guards 
to  bring  his  gun  next  day.  The  sport  promised 
consisted  of  hogs,  hares,  wild  cats,  snipe,  and 
other  animals.  It  was  not  the  season  for  quail, 
but  there  are  periods  when  they  cover  the  shore. 
Shortly  after  we  visited  the  island,  I  saw  in 
The  Times  of  India  that  a  fine  tiger  had  been 
taken  there — an  unusual  circumstance.  It  is 
supposed  that  the  beast  had  swum  over  from 
the  main  land.  There  are  many  of  these  wild 
animals  in  the  deep  ravines  of  the  Bhor  GMt. 
M.  was  fatigued,  and  reaching  a  pleasant 
spot,  sat  down  under  a  tree,  and  fell  asleep. 
I  preferred  to  stray  about  in  a  scene  which 
to  me  was  new,  strange,  and  delightful. 
In  my  wanderings  I  came  upon  a  curious 
ants'  nest,  and  I  saw  suspended  many  long 
bags,  made  of  fibre,  the  work  of  the  weaver 
bird.  Under  a  leafless  tree  a  quantity  of  large 
brown  pods  of  tamarinds  strowed  the  ground, 
and  climbing  a  steep  bit  of  rock,  I  sat  down 
to  enjoy  their  sharp  refreshing  flavour.  The 
view  from  my  lofty  perch  was  charming.  At 
my  feet  were  numbers  of  waving  trees  ;  the  sea 
was  an  intense  blue,  and  on  the  opposite  shore 


of  Salsette  the  hills  were  covered  with  wood. 

The  head  of  the  bay  was  closed  by  lofty 
mountains,  range  above  range,  and  peak  above 
peak.  They  were  the  great  Western  Ghats, 
which  we  were  to  cross  upon  the  morrow.  The 
word  ghat,  in  Indian  parlance,  means  a  moun- 
tain leading  up  to  a  plain  above.  It  is  also 
applied  to  the  broad  flights  of  stairs  which 
ornament  the  tanks.  The  word  is  familiar  to 
those  who  are  acquainted  with  the  secluded 
district  of  Cleveland,  in  the  East  Riding  of 
Yorkshire.  It  there  signifies  a  narrow  passage 
between  two  houses.  A  small  but  interesting 
history  of  Cleveland  has  lately  appeared,  con- 
taining a  glossary  of  the  many  Danish  words 
embedded  in  the  dialect  of  that  country,  and 
the  word  ghat  is  one  of  them. 

The  refreshing  sea  breeze  fanned  our  cheeks 
as  we  wended  our  way  down  the  Pilgrims' 
Steps.  Two  or  three  sailors  who  were  loitering 
about  presented  us  with  some  fruit,  the  size  of 
a  small  apple,  which  they  had  gathered  from  off 
a  palm-tree,  from  whence  they  hung  in  heavy 
clusters.  It  contained  a  clear  white  jelly, 
which,  although  a  little  mawkish  and  sticky, 
was  not  altogether  unpleasant.  I  have  never 
been  able  to  make  out  the  precise  species  of 
palm  from  which  it  was  gathered,  but  suspect 


that  the  fruit  was  immature.  Before  re-em- 
barking, we  strolled  along  the  sands,  searching 
for  shells,  but  all  that  we  found  were  of  a  very 
ordinary  sort. 

In  returning,  the  tide  was  with  us,  and  we 
stood  well  out  into  the  middle  of  the  bay, 
which  is  very  beautiful.  The  amphitheatre  of 
mountains,  the  Eastern  characteristics  of  the 
island  we  had  just  quitted,  the  smiling  shore, 
with  here  and  there  a  domed  and  pinnacled 
mosque,  rosy  red  in  the  rays  of  the  setting  sun, 
made  a  delightful  scene.  Many  islets  were 
dotted  about — Butcher's  Isle,  and  Old  Woman's 
Isle,  and  a  third,  with  long  rows  of  empty 
barracks,  built  at  vast  expense,  and  then  deserted 
in  consequence  of  their  fatally  unhealthy  posi- 
tion. During  their  occupation,  numbers  of 
soldiers  died  of  that  most  painful  malady,  the 
Guinea  worm,  which  generally  proceeds  from 
drinking  unwholesome  water. 

As  we  approached  the  harbour,  the  scene 
became  most  animated.  Noble  three-masted 
P.  and  0.  steamers  lay  at  anchor.  A  little 
apart  from  these  were  others,  belonging  to 
different  companies,  amongst  which  our  own 
Hindoo  cut  no  mean  figure.  There  were  stately 
sailing  vessels  and  small  craft  innumerable, 
which  were  not  huddled  together  in  confusion. 


but  lay  at  a  friendly  distance  from  one  another. 
Every  spar,  every  rope  stood  out  against  a 
background  of  fiery  crimson — such  a  sunset, 
such  vivid  colouring  as  I  had  never  pictured  to 
myself  as  possible  even  in  an  Indian  sunset. 
As  the  soft  twilight  stole  on,  the  hue  intensified 
— the  world  below  the  horizon  might  have  been 
in  flames.  It  was  a  magnificent  conclusion  to 
one  of  the  most  delightful  days  I  ever  spent. 



Journey  to  Belgaum  —  Railway  Travelling  —  Dyeing 
in  India  — Wild  Scenery  —  Incline  of  the  Bhor 
Ghat — Overpowering  Heat — Sanitarium  for  Soldiers— 
The  Mahratta  Mountains— Peculiar  Features  of  the 
Indian  Landscape— View  of  the  Concan— Indian 
Legend— Karli— Death  of  Captain  Stewart— Camp 
of  Exercise— Founder  of  the  Mahratta  Kingdom— 
Itinerant  Merchants— Evening  in  the  Public  Gardens 

A  Drive  by  Night— Poonah— Murder  of  Narazan 


THE  time  which  G was  able  to  spare  for 
Bombay  came  to  an  end  all  too  soon. 
We  took  leave  of  such  of  our  Hindoo  com- 
panions as  still  remained,  and  stepping  into  a 
flight  of  shigrams,  set  forth  on  our  journey. 
Belgaum,  which  was  our  destination,  is  in  the 
southern  part  of  Mahratta.  A  few  years  ago 
the  district  in  which  it  is  situated  formed  part 
of  the  Madras  Presidency,  but  was  handed  over 
to  that  of  Bombay  for  some  reason  relating  to 
the  better  distribution  of  troops.  There  were 
two   routes   open   to   us.     The   easiest    would 


have  been  to  have  taken  a  coasting  steamer  to 
Vingorla,  which  would  have  placed  us  within 
sixty  miles  of  our  destination,  but  this  not  fall- 
ing in  with  G 's  arrangements,  we  took  the 

longer  but  far  more  interesting  line  which  lay 

I  was  delighted  at  the  prospect  of  journeying 
for  three  hundred  and  thirty  miles  through  a 
country  so  new  and  strange.  We  were  aided 
as  far  as  Poonah  (a  hundred  and  nineteen 
miles)  by  the  Great  Indian  Peninsular  Railway, 
the  accommodation  on  which  is  first-rate.  We 
had  previously  engaged  a  saloon  carriage,  to 
Avhich  was  attached  a  dressing-room,  with 
water  laid  on — a  great  luxury.  This  again  led 
into  an  airy  compartment,  set  apart  for  ladies, 
of  which  we  also  took  possession,  being  the  only 
first-class  passengers.  The  fares  on  this  line 
are  naturally  high,  for  its  formation  was  a 
stupendous  undertaking — one  of  the  greatest 
triumphs  of  railway  engineering  in  the  world. 

Leaving  the  town,  we  passed  through  the 
Portuguese  suburb,  in  the  midst  of  which  stands 
a  handsome  Roman  Catholic  church,  to  which 
large  schools  are  attached,  and  on  through  the 
district  where  the  dyers  dwell.  It  was  covered 
with  shallow  cuttings,  filled  to  the  brim  with 
deep  rich  colours — blue,  and  red,  and  saffron, 


and  stretched  out  in  all  directions  were 
the  long  cotton  saris,  in  which  the  Indian 
women  drape  their  elastic  forms.  There  is 
very  little  variety  to  be  found  in  the  Indian 
dyes,  the  natives  being  unsuccessful  in  their 
attempts  to  produce  solid  mixed  tints  ;  with 
one  exception — a  mixture  of  blue  and  green, 
which  is  very  harmonious,  and  much  used  by 
sportsmen  in  the  jungle.  The  process  of  print- 
ing is  executed  in  a  curiously  primitive  man- 
ner, the  patterns  principally  consisting  of  dots 
and  lines.  Greater  success  is  attained  in 
dyeing  silks,  the  hues  of  which  are  lasting  as 
well  as  brilliant.  At  the  desire  of  the  English 
Government  the  forest  commissioners  have 
lately  had  a  meeting  upon  the  subject,  experi- 
ments under  the  direction  of  good  chemists 
have  been  made,  and  it  is  expected  that  great 
improvements  in  this  kind  of  manufactures  will 
be  introduced. 

For  some  time  we  sped  along  a  swampy  rice- 
growing  country,  passing  extensive  salt-works, 
the  dirty  hillocks  and  shallow  pans,  as  usual,  an 
ugly  sight ;  but  we  caught  charming  glimpses  of 
the  sea  at  the  head  of  the  bay,with  Elephanta,and 
the  other  islands,  shadowy  and  uncertain  in  the 
beams  of  the  hot  sun.  Reaching  a  large  junction, 
we  turned  abruptly  to  the  south,  and  steadily 


progressed  towards  the  Ghats,  the  masses  of 
mountain  which  lay  between  us  and  the  Deccan, 
the  level  plains  which  were  to  be  our  abiding 
place.  These  mountains  are  formed  of  various 
sorts  of  trap,  very  hard  and  highly  crystallized. 
At  the  stations  glittering  specimens  were  ex- 
posed for  sale.  At  Nassel  we  plunged  into  a 
narrow  ravine,  where  the  rough  rocks  nearly 
met  overhead,  and  began  to  ascend.  The  most 
considerable  railway  incline  in  Europe  is  that  on 
the  Sommering  pass,  between  Vienna  and 
Trieste  ;  but  its  proportions  are  on  a  far  smaller 
scale  than  those  of  the  Bhor  Ghat,  which  ascends 
eighteen  hundred  and  thirty-one  feet,  and  is 
nearly  sixteen  miles  in  length ;  in  parts  the 
latter  is  wonderfully  precipitate,  the  gradient 
being  one  in  twelve;  the  average  is  one  in  forty- 

The    noonday   heat    was   overpowering    (in 
Bombay,  March  is   the   hottest  month   in   the 

year),  and  caused  G and  M.  to  withdraw 

into  the  lattice-closed  ladies'  saloon ;  but 
I  was  too  much  excited  by  the  novelty  of  my 
position  to  follow  their  example.  No  good  view 
was  to  be  obtained  without  kneeling  upon  the 
seat  and  putting  my  head  out  of  the  window ; 
the  eaves  sheltered  my  head  from  the  fierce 
rays  of  the  sun,  but  the  heated  air  struck  upon 
my  face  like  blasts  from  an  oven. 


The  scenery  was  glorious.  The  lofty  moun- 
tains and  the  deep  ravines — Panbul,  an  abrupt 
rock,  with  a  flat  top,  two  thousand  five  hundred 
feet  high,  and  the  immense  shoulder  of  the  Bhor 
Ghat  still  loftier — always  threatened  to  bar  our 
progress  which  ever  way  we  turned.  (Bhor  is  the 
Mahratta  word  for  the  juguba  tree,  which  grows 
plentifully  upon  this  mountain — hence  the  name.) 
Fort-crowned  Moteran  is  a  prominent  object, 
presenting  to  the  north  a  perpendicular  face  of 
small  black  rock,  which  rises  two  thousand  feet 
above  the  narrow  plain  that  separates  it  from 
the  sea. 

On  a  plateau  near  the  top,  which  slopes  to 
the  brink  of  a  frightful  precipice,  there  is  a 
sanitarium  for  sick  soldiers,  and  a  collection  of 
cottages,  to  which  the  Europeans  who  live  in 
Bombay,  thirsting  for  cool  breezes,  thankfully 
resort  in  the  hot  season.  The  coloured  view  of 
this  place,  with  its  formal  gravel  paths,  and 
stiff  gardens,  in  which  nothing  appears  to  grow, 
reminded  me  of  a  sea-side  advertisement  at  an 
English  railway-station.  As  we  mounted,  the 
view  became  superb,  embracing  the  "  peaks 
familiar  with  forgotten  years,"  the  piled-up 
mountains  of  the  Western  Ghats,  the  far,  dim 
plains  of  the  Concan,  and  the  lovely  harbour  of 
Bombay,  its  indigo  waters  flecked  by  innumer- 


able  white-sailed  ships,  reduced  by  distance  to 
the  size  of  sea-gulls. 

The  Mahratta  mountains  are  of  most  pecu- 
liar shape,  resembling,  with  occasional  excep- 
tions, gigantic  cones,  from  which  ages  of 
monsoons  have  swept  the  tops,  leaving  exposed 
the  skeleton  summits,  perpendicular  walls  of 
basaltic  rock,  lofty  plateaus,  natural  strong- 
holds, which  the  war-like  chiefs  converted 
into  impregnable  fortresses.  On  many  of  these 
plateaus  there  are  abundant  springs  of  fine 
water,  and  when  such  is  not  the  case,  the  hard 
nature  of  the  rock  is  admirably  adapted  for 
reservoirs.  Our  ascent  was,  at  first,  very 
gradual.  We  crossed  a  lofty  embankment, 
entered  a  narrow  rock-hewn  passage,  and  on 
through  a  dark  tunnel,  to  emerge  upon  a 
lengthy  viaduct.  As  we  advanced,  the  iron  road 
became  more  difficult  for  the  panting  engine  to 
climb.  I  rejoiced  over  its  laboured  pace,  for 
every  minute  developed  the  majesty  of  the 
prospect.  We  swept  up  the  mighty  Bhor  Ghat, 
curving  in  and  out  of  its  bulging  sides,  catch- 
ing sight  of  airy  tracks  far  above  our  level, 
stretches  of  the  road  which  we  were  about  to 
traverse.  Terra  firma  seemed  to  vanish;  we 
appeared  to  be  sailing  past  the  mountain  side, 
with  a  deep,  deep  valley  beneath.     We  were, 


in  fact,  gliding  along  a  bench  of  rock  wide 
enough,  but  no  more,  to  receive  the  iron  way. 
It  was  frightful,  utter  annihilation,  if  a  wheel 
should  break,  a  chain  become  uncoupled,  or  a 
train  warped  by  the  burning  sun.  The  charac- 
ter of  the  scenery  was  quite  new  to  me.  Here 
Nature  was  on  so  vast  a  scale.  Broad  as  were 
the  valleys,  the  effect  was  lost  in  their  profound 
depth,  where  a  deep  green  line  of  jungle 
marked  the  home  of  the  tiger  and  of  the  still 
fiercer  panther.  And  then  the  colouring  of  the 
tangled  vegetation,  which,  though  dead,  had 
■suffered  no  decay.  Changed  to  a  tint  of  burn- 
ing gold,  it  still  clothed  the  mountain  side, 
save  where  the  polished  surface  of  the  huge 
masses  of  black  rock  were  so  smooth  that 
nothing  could  cling  to  them.  This  Indian 
landscape  was,  beyond  everything,  solemn 
and  grand.  One  vast  promontory  lives 
in  my  memory.  It  stood  boldly  forth,  rooted 
for  all  time  in  the  horse-shoe  valley  beneath,  a 
fit  position  for  the  blazing  beacons  which  guided 
the  fierce  Mahratta  marauders  on  their  mid- 
night march  when  steam  power  lay  an  embryo 
in  the  womb  of  time. 

The  station  at  the  top  of  the  incline  is  called 
the  reversing  station.  There  was  a  short  delay, 
which  we  employed  in  looking  back  upon  the 


mountains  we  had  traversed  ;  and  in  endeavour- 
ing to  trace  the  iron  road  we  had  passed  along, 
we  obtained  occasional  glimpses  of  narrow  cut- 
tings from  the  rock,  mere  threads  they  looked, 
banks  formed  upon  arches,  or  upon  lofty  piers 
built  into  the  mountain  sides.  No  wonder  that 
this  gigantic  undertaking  cost  a  fabulous  sum. 

Leaving  the  station,  we  doubled  back  again. 
The  two  lines  proceeding  from  a  common  source, 
one  mounting,  the  other  descending,  have  a 
curious  effect,  and  make  a  striking  photograph. 
As  we  slowly  journeyed  we  obtained  a  fine 
view  over  the  Concan,  a  vast  stretch  of  country, 
varying  in  width  from  twenty-five  to  fifty 
miles,  which  here  spreads  between  the  ghats 
and  the  sea,  but  runs  far  south,  and  along  the 
coast  of  Malabar.  In  this  space  different 
languages  are  spoken,  and  Hindoo  geographers 
divide  it  into  seven  parts.  It  would  not  be 
India,  did  not  some  old-world  fable  seek 
to  account  for  the  existence  of  these  great 
plains.  One  of  the  Paorans  (a  collection  of 
mythological  stories  regarded  as  sacred)  re- 
counts how,  Puresham  having  extirpated  the 
Kshittrees  and  oppressive  Rajahs  from  a  certain 
country,  conferred  the  conquered  territory  on 
the  Brahmans,  but  they  ungratefully  refused 
their  benefactors  permission  to  reside  amongst 


tkem_,  so  Puresham,  in  search  of  a  home,  bent 
bis  bow,  and  let  fly  an  arrow  from  the  top  of  the 
great  western  mountains,  at  which  the  ocean 
was  intimidated,  and  receding  before  the  arrow 
to  the  point  at  which  it  fell,  left  dry  the  ex- 
tensive tract  of  country  now  known  by  the 
name  of  the  Concan  and  the  Malabar  coast. 

The  country  at  our  feet  appeared  to  be  culti- 
vated, The  fields  now  sterile  were,  for  the 
purpose  of  irrigation,  divided  by  banks  of  earth 
into  squares.  There  were  tanks  of  shimmering 
water  fringed  with  trees,  under  which  were 
groups  of  white  temples,  with  conical  roofs,  and 
noble  trees  were  dotted  about,  principally  teak, 
the  wood  of  which  is  even  harder  and  more  en- 
during than  that  of  oak.  Then,  though  all 
small  objects  became  indistinct  in  the  sultry 
atmosphere,  we  could  still  trace  the  blue  line  of 
hills  which  bordered  the  coast. 

Before  us  were  many  strange  funnel-shaped 
hills,  and  basaltic  rocks  of  remarkable  form. 
They  represented  castles  and  obelisks,  gigantic 
figures  and  grotesque  faces.  One  rock  is  known 
by  the  name  of  the  Duke's  Nose ;  but  our  pace 
had  quickened,  and  before  we  were  disenchanted 
they  were  gone.  Shortly  before  reaching  Lanow- 
lee  M.  pointed  across  the  valley  to  some  trees 
clinging   round   a  jutting  rock,   with   a   dark 


spot  in  the  centre,  the  entrance  to  the  far-famed 
Cave  of  Karli.  A  tantalizing  vision.  She  had 
ridden  up  the  slippery  path  which  leads  to  it, 
a  narrow  ledge  cut  from  the  rock,  with  nothing 
to  protect  it  from  a  steep  precipice.  Karli  is 
considered  to  be  the  finest  chaitya  cave  in 
India.  It  is  supposed  to  date  from  the  second 
century  before  the  Christian  era,  and  is  in  ex- 
cellent preservation ;  the  curious  teak  wood 
ribbed  roof,  and  the  screen,  being,  without 
doubt,  as  ancient  as  the  excavation.* 

It  was  at  Karli  that  Captain   Stewart,  who 

*  The  geographical  distribution  of  the  caves  is  somewhat 
singular,  more  than  nine-tenths  of  those  now  known  being- 
found  within  the  Bombay  Presidency  ....  I  was  at  one 
time  inclined  to  connect  this  remarkable  distribution  with 
the  comparative  proximity  of  this  side  of  India  to  the  rock- 
cutting  Egyptians  and  Ethiopians,  but  the  coincidence  can 
be  more  simply  accounted  for  by  the  existence  of  rocks,  in 
both  countries,  perfectly  adapted  to  such  works.  The  whole 
cave  district  of  India  is  composed  of  horizontal  strata  of 
amygdaloid  and  other  cognate  trap  formations,  generally 
speaking  of  very  considerable  thickness  and  great  uni- 
formity of  texture,  and  possessing  besides  the  advantage  of 
their  edges  being  generally  exposed  in  perfectly  perpendicr  - 
lar  cliffs.  So  that  no  rock  in  any  part  of  the  world  could 
either  be  more  suited  for  the  purpose,  or  more  favourably 
situated  than  these  formations  are.  In  the  rarest  possible 
instances  are  there  any  flaws  or  faults  to  disturb  the 
uniformity  of  the  design. — Fergusson's  Hand-book  of 

VOL.  I.  G 


had  taken  possession  of  the  Bhor  Ghat  in  the  pre- 
vious November  (1779),  was  killed  by  a  cannon- 
ball.  He  was  mentioned  in  the  despatches  as 
"  a  most  gallant  and  judicious  officer,  and  pos- 
sessed of  the  true  military  spirit !"  To  this  day 
his  name  is  familiar  in  the  Mahratta  country 
by  the  appellation  of  the  Stewart  Phakray,  a 
circumstance  which  marks  the  strong  impres- 
sion made  by  his  conduct.* 

We  took   advantage   of  an   hour's  delay  at 
Lanowlee,  to  give  the  children  some  refresh- 
ment.    There  is  a  messman  at  this  station,  but 
those  who  prefer  it  can  bring  their  own  pro- 
visions ;  and  unless  things  are  borrowed,  no  fee 
is   expected.     India    is  not   the   land    of  fees. 
Lanowlee,  with  its  green  slopes,  grey  boulder 
stones,  and  tangled  woods,  is  a  charming  spot. 
The   scattered  bungalows,    encircled   by   wide 
verandahs,  were  almost  hidden  away  under  the 
high-pitched  tiled  roofs,  which,  sweeping  down, 
sheltered  them  alike  from  sunshine  and  storm. 
They  were  covered  with  beautiful  creepers,  and 
their  white  pillars  were  festooned  with  sprays 
of  every  colour,  crimson  predominating.     It  is 
a    place    of   popular    resort    during    the    hot 
weather.     M.  had  spent  part  of  the  previous 

*  Grant  Duff's  History  of  the  Mahrattas. 


season  there,  and  was  delighted  with  the  beauty 
of  the  surrounding  country,  and  the  abundance 
of  wild  flowers. 

We  now  entered  upon  a  comparatively  flat 
country,  with  fields  and  hedges  of  prickly  pear. 
We  had  reached  one  of  the  Deccan  plains  (the 
Deccan  consists  of  a  series  of  table-lands),  and 
many  a  green  thing  served  to  remind  us  of  the 
elevation  we  had  attained.  We  breathed  again. 
The  hills  retired,  and  formed  a  fine  background 
to  the  open  country. 

Some  time  before  reaching  Poonah,  we  came 
upon  a  barren,  sun-scorched  plain,  but  a  green 
oasis  in  M.'s  memory,  having  been  the  scene 
of  the  large  camp  of  exercise  held  during  the 
previous  year ;  and,  in  spite  of  the  order  that 
neither  women  nor  silver  spoons  should  be  ad- 
mitted into  its  precincts,  her  husband,  being 
Provost-Marshal,   she   got   smuggled   in.     She 

had  a  large  tent,  connected  with  G 's  by  a 

oanvas  passage,  and  this  was  so  delightfully 
encumbered  by  piles  of  fruit,  presents  of  al- 
monds, pumalos,  oranges,  plantains,  more  fruits 
than  I  can  name,  and  little  boxes  containing 
extra  delicate  productions,  that  she  could 
scarcely  stir.     She  ate  as  many  of  them  as  she 

possibly  could ;  and,  G having  no  time  to 

■eat,   the   residue   was   given   to   the   troopers. 

G  2 


There  was  no  end  of  the  delights — the  noblest 
elephants  and  stateliest  camels  were  brought 
up  for  her  to  paint ;  and  most  charming  studies 
she  made  of  the  picturesque  creatures  and  their 
wild  attendants.  Her  ears  were  tickled  by  the 
moanings  of  the  chiefs  who  wanted  places 
allotted  to  them,  at  the  forthcoming  review,  for 
numerous  carriages  which  they  did  not  possess ; 
and,  above  all,  at  the  said  review  she  had  the 
felicity  of  being  close  to  Indore's  great  prince, 
Holkar,  with  his  cotton  robe_,  heavy  face,  and 
splendid  jewels,  mounted  upon  a  horse,  streaked 
with  red,  and  got  up  with  a  lilac  tail.* 

Kenkee,  with  its  famous  memories,  a  heath 
with  a  few  scattered  houses  and  long  lines  of 

*  Holkar,  though  by  no  means  the  richest,  or  owner  of 
the  largest  territories  amongst  the  native  princes,  is  one  of 
the  most  independent. — "  Throughout  the  length  and 
breadth  of  his  Highness  the  Maharajah's  possessions  no  pri- 
vate individual  has  anything  like  permanent,  hereditary,  or 
alienable  rights  in  land.  Registered  proprietorship  is  un- 
heard of  in  this  part  of  India.  Every  cultivator  is  a  tenant 
at  will  of  his  Highness.  The  population  of  Holkar's  terri- 
tories is  roughly  estimated  at  600,000  souls,  and  the  area 
at  8,318  square  miles.  The  revenue  of  the  state  from  all 
sources  is  about  thirty  lakhs  of  rupees,  and  the  expenditure 
twenty-two  lakhs."  (A  lakh  is  £10,000.)  "  Holkar  main- 
tains a  military  establishment  of  2,050  irregular  cavalry, 
and  500  artillerymen,  with  twenty-four  field  guns  equipped." 
— Times  of  India  Calendar,  1876. — The  Holkar  family  are 
Sudras  of  the  shepherd  tribe,  and  rose  to  eminence  at  the 
end  of  the  seventeenth  century. 


cavalry  barracks,  had  for  us  a  personal  interest. 

G was    born   there,   and,   we   will   hope, 

christened  in  the  prim  little  brick  church  which 
presents  such  a  remarkable  contrast  to  the  fine 
group  of  Jain  temples  in  its  neighbourhood. 

After  the  heat  and  excitement  of  the  day,  it 
was  very  refreshing  to  sit  in  the  wide  verandah 
of  the  Napier  Hotel,  look  over  the  pretty  flower 
garden,  and  up  at  the  quiet  stars.     The  heat 
next  morning  was  considerable.     The  thermo- 
meter in  our  sitting-room  standing  at  ninety- 
eight  degrees,  it  was  impossible  to  venture  out 
of  doors.     The  great  drawback  to  Indian  travel 
are  the  many  hours  of  enforced  inactivity,  when 
one  is  obliged  to  sit  chafing  within  doors,  until 
the  sun  is  down,  and  only  the  short  twilight 
remains  in  which  to  see  the  surrounding  objects 
of  interest.     Had  I  been  able  to  manage  for 
myself,   I  should  have  been  up  with  the  lark 
(there  are  plenty  of  larks  in  India),  and  have 
explored  half  the  wonders  of  the  place  before 
breakfast.     As  it   was,   I  sat  down  in  a  half- 
closed  room,  with  a  fan  in  one  hand,  and  Grant 
Duffs  "  History  of  the  Mahrattas,"  in  the  other 
(I  was  too  old  a  traveller  to  be  unprovided  with 
books),   and  improved    the   shining   hours  by 
making  out  what  I  could  respecting  these  old 
marauding  villains. 


I  boldly  skipped  the  pages,  until  1  came  to 
the  mention  of  Sevaji,  the  great  national  hero, 
the  founder  of  the  Mahratta  kingdom.  Born  in 
1627,  he  came  of  a  long  line  of  princes,  and 
was  brought  up  near  Poonah.  Poonah,  how- 
ever, did  not  become  a  place  of  much  import- 
ance until  a  later  power,  that  of  the  Peishwa, 
arose.  (Peishwa  is  a  Persian  name  for  a  certain 
Government  officer.)  They  were  a  Brahman 
race  from  the  Deccan,  hereditary  Prime  Mini- 
sters to  the  rajahs  of  Sattara.  Gradually  rising 
to  power,  they  became  supreme  chiefs  of  the 
Mahratta  nation,  and  in  the  year  1750  they 
made  Poonah  their  capital. 

At  the  table-d'hote  luncheon  I  fell  in  with 
several  friends.  It  was  a  sociable  meal ;  dogs 
walked  about  at  their  ease,  and  small  birds  flew 
over  us,  perching  upon  the  sides  of  the  dishes 
when  removed  from  the  table,  and  helping 
themselves  to  the  viands  with  the  utmost  cool- 
ness. The  afternoon  was  enlivened  by  the 
arrival  of  itinerant  merchants,  who  laid  their 
goods  open  for  inspection  in  the  verandah.  One 
of  them,  a  handsome  dark  man,  with  a  red 
turban,  had  some  excellent  toys — animals  made 
of  strong  grey  linen,  the  features  being  stitched 
in  with  coloured  thread.  We  bought  an  ele- 
phant,  with    magnificent   trappings  of  scarlet 


cloth,  and  a  spirited  horse,  with  flowing*  mane 
and  tail ;  the  former,  under  the  name  of  Miss 
Einmeline,  is  still  dear  to  the  hearts  of  the 
youthful  part  of  the  family. 

Another  man  had  scarfs  and  slippers,  and 
many  sorts  of  embroidery,  as  well  as  fancy  bas- 
kets made  of  Kusha  grass.  They  looked  as  if 
they  had  been  made  by  the  weaver-bird,  and 
spangled  with  the  wings  of  its  insect  victims. 
These  baskets  are  peculiar  to  the  Poonah  dis- 
trict. A  third  travelling  merchant  had  trays 
full  of  jewelry,  some  bracelets  and  brooches 
worked  in  a  manner  which  was  quite  new  to 
me,  in  which  delicate  arabesques  of  gold  were 
fused  into  green  and  blue  enamel.  These  orna- 
ments were  strikingly  pretty,  but  very  expen- 
sive. There  were  also  some  fine  Mocha  stones 
(so  called  from  having  been  first  polished  at 
Mocha),  in  which  floated  exquisite  little  branches 
of  red  and  green  sea-weed.  The  precious  stones, 
set  in  rings  and  small  parures,  were  expensive, 
and  not  pretty. 

The  sun  was  a  great  glowing  ball,  sinking 
beneath  the  horizon,  when  we  drove  down  to 
enjoy  the  freshness  of  evening  in  the  public 
gardens.  The  band  had  ceased  to  play,  and  the 
gay  world  were  flocking  away.  Underneath 
the   heavy-leaved  trees  was   the  vacant  band- 


stand,  surrounded  by  large  plots  of  shrubs  and 
flowers  ;  but  most  of  the  smaller  plants  were  in 
pots,  and  although  they  were  well  arranged, 
to  my  unaccustomed  eyes  the  effect  was  un- 
satisfactory, the  absence  of  turf  being  a  great 
drawback.  Nothing  could  be  more  delightful 
than  the  situation  of  these  gardens,  placed  upon 
a  high  cliff,  along  the  brink  of  which  ran  a  broad 
terrace,  with  stone  balustrades  and  seats,  which 
overhung  the  wide,  swift  river  Miila,  with  its 
bridge  of  many  arches,  and  the  bund,  or  embank- 
ment, by  which  it  is  protected.  Low  hills,  clothed 
with  wood,  sank  into  the  water  on  the  opposite 
side  of  the  stream.  It  was  a  scene  of  peaceful 
beauty,  which  [our  weary  eyes  thoroughly  en- 
joyed. It  suddenly  became  quite  dark.  There 
are  no  "violet  Summers'  eves''  in  India,  and 
we  had  some  difficulty  in  threading  our  way  to 
the  carriage.  There  was  a  bright  light  upon  a 
near  hill-side,  which  we  took  to  be  a  burning 
cottage,  but  it  proceeded  from  a  pile  of  wood, 
which  at  certain  times  is  kindled,  in  order  to 
light  the  descent  to  the  mouth  of  a  cave  in 
which  there  lives  a  very  holy  ascetic.  This 
was  not  the  only  blaze  on  the  surrounding 
heights;  flickering  flames  ran  along  the  ground. 
It  was  the  season  for  firing  the  thick  scrub,  in 
order  to  get  rid  of  the  dried  vegetation  before 


the  rains.  There  being  no  moon,  we  saw  the 
full  effect  of  the  red  forks  of  flame  which  shot  up, 
casting  a  lurid  glow  around.     It  was  a  curious 

sight ;  but  until  G remembered  that  it  was 

the  evening  of  a  great  Hindoo  festival,  we 
were  puzzled  to  account  for  a  stationary  line 
of  brilliant  light  which  streaked  the  side 
of  a  conical  hill  at  no  great  distance.  It 
was  the  celebrated  place  of  pilgrimage,  the 
mount  and  temples  of  Parvati,  which  were  thus 
illuminated.  Later  in  the  evening  we  sat  upon 
the  house-top,  and  watched  the  clustered  lamps 
which  marked  out  the  steep  flights  of  steps 
leading  to  the  shrines  ;  and  when  we  went  to 
bed  they  were  still  shining  in  all  their  beauty. 

The  following  day  was  a  busy  one.  There 
arrived  five  bullock  carts,  which  were  to  convey 
our  baggage  (in  Indian  parlance,  kit)  to  Bel- 
gaum.  They  were  to  travel  at  night,  and  catch 
us  up  on  the  third  and  fifth  day  of  our  passage. 
The  bullocks  were  handsome  creatures,  with 
calm  eyes,  creamy  white  coats,  hanging  dew- 
laps, and  great  crescent-shaped  horns  tipped 
with  ornamental  brass  work.  I  was  sorry  for 
the  poor  patient  beasts,  who  had  to  bear  so 
heavy  a  yoke,  and  be  driven  with  a  line  passed 
through  the  nostril.  The  dogs  (the  great  twin 
brothers),  and  Dick's  goats,  shared  a  vehicle 


which  had  a  cover  to  it.     Spread  out  ready  to 
be    packed   was   the   batterie  de  cuisine,  which 

G had  bought  in  Bombay.     It  consisted  of 

imposing-looking  vessels  of  solid  copper,  with 
rough-hewn  exteriors.  I  especially  admired 
some  which  were  very  bulky,  with  sloping 
shoulders  and  broad  rims.  One  pot  was  such  a 
monster  that  I  was  puzzled  as  to  its  probable 
use.  Three  rounds  of  beef  could  have  been  boil- 
ed in  it  without  jostling  one  another.  "  What 
on  earth  is  that  for  %"  I  demanded,  pointing  to 
it.  "  That,"  said  M.,  in  her  decisive  way — 
"  that  is  my  oven."  Calmly  surveying  the 
scene  from  the  roof,  where  he  was  perched,  was 
a  large,  glossy  brown  scavenger-hawk,  who  at 
intervals  gave  forth  a  shrill,  quivering,  mournful 
cry.  This  evening,  to  my  great  satisfaction, 
we  set  out  on  our  drive  before  the  sun  was 

I  was  disappointed  with  the  European  part 
of  Poonah,  having  expected  to  see  a  handsome 
town — a  small  Bombay — instead  of  which 
nothing  was  to  be  seen  but  small  bungalows, 
widely  separated,  and  surrounded  by  ragged 
shrubberies  and  dried-up  gardens.  After  the 
rains,  they  would  probably  look  very  different. 
The  native  town,  which  keeps  strictly  to  itself, 
was  nearly  two  miles  from  our  starting-point. 

POONAH.  91 

Fifty  years  ago  it  was  the  very  Paradise  of 
priests.  A  writer  of  that  day  speaks  of  having 
seen  eighty  thousand  Brahmans  assembled  there 
at  one  time. 

We  drove  to  the  fort,  which  stands  in  the 
centre  of  the  town.  The  entrance  is  exceedingly 
fine,  consisting  of  a  lofty,  towering  archway, 
surmounted  by  a  small  iron  balcony,  from 
whence  the  Peishwas  used  to  review  their 
troops,  and  on  certain  occasions  exhibit  them- 
selves in  all  their  splendour  to  the  people.  The 
arch  is  set  in  a  broad  frame,  which  is  frescoed 
over  with  lotus  leaves  and  blossoms  upon  a 
cream-coloured  ground,  the  colours  well  pre- 
served. On  each  side  is  a  massive  round  tower, 
pierced  with  numerous  embrasures  for  guns  of 
small  calibre.  The  iron  doors  which  closed  the 
archway  were  barbarously  magnificent,  and 
told  of  days  long  since  numbered  with  the  past.- 
In  parts  they  bristled  with  deep  rows  of  sharp 
spikes,  more  than  a  foot  in  length,  so  placed 
in  order  to  prevent  the  elephants  from  battering 
them  in.  We  were  admitted  into  the  interior  by 
a  door  cut  through  the  superior  one ;  it  was  so 
small  that  we  had  to  double  ourselves  up  in 
order  to  pass  through  it.  The  fort  is  now  a 
mere  shell,  but  the  lofty  walls  are  perfect,  and 
enclose  a  considerable  space  of  ground.     The 

92        MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

only  chambers  which  remain  are  those  above 
the  gateway.  These  small-windowed  rooms 
were  in  1773  the  scene  of  a  tragic  event— the 
murder  of  Narayan  Rao.  He  was  only  eigh- 
teen, and  had  been  but  nine  months  Peishwa. 
The  unfortunate  youth  had  confined  his  uncle 
in  an  apartment  in  the  palace.  The  uncle  had 
been  able  to  bribe  two  of  his  guards  to  seize 
the  young  Peishwa,  and  thus  bring  about  his 
own  release ;  but  his  vindictive  wife  secretly 
changed  the  word  from  seize  to  kill.  (If  East- 
ern women  are  celebrated,  it  is  always  for 
evil,  and  never  for  good.)  The  assassins  stabbed 
the  young  Peishwa,  killing  at  the  same  time  a 
faithful  servant,  who  had  thrown  himself  upon 
his  body.  A  terrace  runs  along  the  old  gate- 
way, to  which  a  still  more  mournful  interest 
attaches.  It  was  the  favourite  walk  of  another 
young  Peishwa,  Mahadeo  Rao,  who,  at  the  close 
of  the  last  century,  threw  himself  down  from 
it,  dying  two  days  after  from  the  injuries  he 
received.  It  happened  during  one  of  the  great 
national  Mahratta  festivals,  which  was  being 
conducted  with  unusual  splendour.  The  young 
Peishwa  had  received  his  great  chiefs,  and  the 
ambassadors  of  foreign  countries ;  he  had  shown 
himself  to  his  troops,  who  had  passed  before 
him   thousands  strong ;  but  the   restraints  im- 

THE  FORT.  93 

posed  upon  him  by  his  tyrannical  minister,  the 
celebrated  Nana  Farnavis,  had  so  wounded  his 
pride  that  he  destroyed  himself.  Snch  stories 
have  little  interest  for  those  who  have  not 
visited  the  spot,  but  they  are  full  of  significance 
with  regard  to  the  manners  of  the  period  in 
which  such  horrors  could  take  place  with  im- 
punity. There  is  not  one  of  these  Eastern 
strongholds  that  has  not  been  drenched  in 

We  crossed  the  great  enclosure,  solitary  now 
save  for  the  presence  of  a  few  soldiers  at  drill, 
and  half-a-dozen  white-robed  individuals,  who 
were  amusing  themselves  in  an  inoffensive  man- 
ner by  accompanying  us  to  the  castle  gardens, 
which  are  still  kept  up  in  a  lazy  Oriental 
fashion.  There  were  the  trees  under  which  the 
Peishwas  had  sat  and  hatched  dark  plots,  the 
tanks  in  which  they  had  disported  themselves, 
and  the  wells  from  Avhich  they  had  drunk,  now 
green  with  beautiful  black-stemmed  giant 
maidenhair,  some  sprigs  of  which  we  gathered 
to  send  home.  As  we  were  leaving  the  fort, 
our  Hindoo  followers,  who  had  lingered  behind, 
came  up,  and  gracefully  presented  each  of  us 
with  a  little  prim  nosegay  of  roses  and  pinks, 

for  which   attention   Gr thanked   them  in 

their  own   language,   and   they   continued    to 


salaam  until  we  were  out  of  sight.  Close  to 
the  fort  is  a  narrow  street,  in  which,  under  the 
Peishwas,  offenders  were  executed  by  being- 
trampled  to  death  by  elephants,  an  admirable 
mode  of  disposing  of  an  enemy,  as  it  combined 
vengeance  with  amusement.  One  of  the  Holkar 
family  was  put  to  death  in  this  cruel  manner 
whilst  the  last  of  the  Peishwas  sat  at  his  win- 
dow and  gloated  over  the  agonies  of  his  vic- 
tim ;  but  that  very  same  year  his  brother,  Rcio 
Holkar,  was  splendidly  revenged  by  winning 
the  battle  of  Poonah. 

The  town  is  full  of  curious  old  houses,  the  ex- 
terior gal  leries'of  which  have  shutters  and  frames 
for  lattices,  finely  carved ;  and  there  we  saw 
Saracenic  arches,  of  horse-shoe  form.  These 
were  supported  by  wooden  pillars  richly  carved 
with  figures  and  foliage.  These  old  houses 
were  once  the  residences  of  great  ministers  and 
■court  favourites.  We  alighted,  and  stepped 
into  the  court  of  that  which  had  belonged 
to  Nana  Farnavis.  It  was  a  mouldy  place, 
with  broken  fountains  and  dry  tanks ;  the 
rooms  were  small  and  dismal,  and  the  narrow 
passages  quite  dark.  A  large  house  was  point- 
ed out  to  us  as  having  been,  at  the  end  of  the 
last  century,  the  dwelling  of  a  most  extraordi- 
nary character — a  Avoman,  Spanish  by  birth,  but 


an  English  subject,  being  the  wife  of  a  Mr. 
James  Hall,  a  respectable  barrister  in  Madras, 
from  whom  she  was  separated.  She  sought  her 
fortune  in  the  military  service  of  the  native 
princes.  Her  active  career  was,  however,  cut 
short,  in  consequence  of  her  having  caused  the 
death,  by  beating,  of  a  thievish  Brahman  who 
was  attached  to  her  household.  For  this  grave 
offence,  which  would  have  entailed  capital 
punishment  had  she  been  a  native,  she  was  for 
many  years  confined  in  a  hill  fort  near  Poonah. 
The  military  name  assumed  by  this  heroine  was 
Jamel  Serdar  (Elegant  Lord,  or  Elegant  Com- 
mander). Her  dress  at  Poonah  was  of  a  very 
manlike  stamp,  although  still  not  entirely  mas- 
culine. In  Mogul  style,  she  wore  a  flowing 
robe  and  loose  trousers ;  an  enormous  sabre  and 
a  plumed  helmet  graced  the  well-formed  person 
of  this  daring  Amazon.  "I  have  heard," 
says  Mr.  Moor,  "  that  she  was  offered  the  com- 
mand of  the  battalion  of  women  that  the  Nizam 
Ally  Khan  raised  for  the  interior  duties  of  the 
Mahl,  or  ladies'  apartments,  or  what  we  call  the 
Seraglio.  The  battalion  consisted  of  five  or 
six  hundred  women,  regularly  dressed  and 
disciplined,  commanded  by  officers  of  their  own 
sex.  Armed  with  light  fusees,  they  mounted 
guard  regularly  over  the  ladies'  apartments,  and 


the  vicinity  of  them,  and  are  described  as,  on 
the  whole,  a  very  well  set-up  corps.  It  actually 
took  the  field  when  the  Nizam  waged  the  dis- 
graceful war  of  1793  against  the  Poonah 

The  streets  of  Poonah  are  very  striking  to 
strangers;  the  exteriors  of  many  of  the  houses  are 
brilliantly  painted  with  figures  of  gods  and  god- 
desses. Idols  squatted  under  the  peepul-trees. 
The  very  streets  were  named  after  mythological 
personages,  and  an  endless  stream  of  strange- 
looking  people  flowed  up  and  down.  The 
whole  population  of  the  place  appeared  to  have 
turned  out  to  breathe  at  ease  once  more  after  the 
sultry  day.  In  the  outskirts  of  the  town  stands 
a  large  Jaina  temple,  enclosed  by  walls,  on 
which  a  whole  pantheon  of  deities  were  dis- 
porting themselves.  No  Christian  is  allowed  to 
enter  its  sacred  precincts,  but  a  door  happened 
to  be  ajar,  and  as  there  was  no  one  to  interfere 
with  us,  we  gazed  unchecked  into  the  sacred 
pile.  It  was  profusely  painted  in  rich  dark 
colours,  and  bore  no  little  resemblance  to  a 
Tartar  building.  Colonnades  lined  the  oblong 
court,  and  there  was  a  tank  shaded  by  a  ban- 
yan-tree. Poonah  is  the  head-quarters  of  the 
once  numerous  Jain  sect.  I  believe  that  years 
ago  Lady  Falkland  visited  the  interior  of  this 

THE  LIONS5  DEN.  97 

temple,  and  gives  a  description  of  it  in  a  book 
called  "  Chow-Chow  ;"  but  I  have  not  been  able 
to  meet  with  it. 

I  was  early  on  the  terrace  roof  next  morning, 
being  anxious  to  obtain  a  good  view  of  Sin- 
ghar,  before  the  air  became  dense  with  heat.  It 
is  one  of  the  most  renowned  fortresses  in  all 
Mahratta.  It  is  situated  upon  a  conical  hill, 
which  appears  to  be  perfectly  isolated,  but  is, 
in  fact,  joined,  by  a  narrow  neck,  to  the  great 
Schyadri  Ghats.  It  stands  four  thousand  one 
hundred  and  sixty-two  feet  above  the  level  of 
the  sea.  Its  craggy  triangular  plateau,  high 
walls,  and  strong  towers,  were  so  clearly  de- 
fined against  the  pale  green  sky  that  I  could 
scarcely  believe  that  "  The  Lions'  Den "  was 
eleven  miles  away.  It  is,  indeed,  even  in  decay, 
a  magnificent  stronghold.  In  olden  times,  safe 
in  its  lonely  strength  and  terrible  precipices,  no 
one  thought  of  being  surprised  in  it.  Sur- 
prised, however,  it  was  by  one  of  Sevaji's 
heroic  generals,  on  a  starless  night,  the  ninth 
night  of  the  dark  half  of  the  moon,  in  the 
month  of  October.  Three  hundred  Mahrattas 
escaladed  its.  steepest  point,  and  silently  entered 
the  fort.  A  desperate  conflict  ensued.  "  Har ! 
Ear  !  Maha  Deo !"  was  the  cry  of  the  invaders. 
Not  a  man  of  the  garrison  submitted,  and  day- 

VOL.  I.  H 


light  found  five  hundred  gallant  fellows  dead  or 
dying,  several  hundreds  having  chosen  the 
almost  desperate  alternative  of  venturing  over 
the  rock,  and  many  were  dashed  to  pieces  in 
the  attempt.  The  leader  of  the  assault,  Sevaji's 
favourite  general,  was  killed,  and  upon  hearing 
of  the  misfortune,  his  master  is  said  to  have 
exclaimed,  "  Alas  !  alas !  the  den  is  taken,  but 
the  lion  is  slain  !  We  have  gained  a  fort,  but  I 
have  lost  Tanaji  Malusre  !"  Upon  this  occasion 
each  private  soldier  was  rewarded  by  the  gift 
of  a  solid  silver  bangle. 



Travelling  Arrangements  in  India— The  Southern  Cross— 
The  Travellers'  Bungalow — Fakirs — Noble  Banyan 
Tree— Fishing  in  India — The  Singadari— Orthography 
of  Indian  Proper  Names — Climate  of  Western  India — 
Ascent  of  the  Kamski  Ghat— The  Magellanic  Clouds 
— Crossing  the  Koo-i-nor — Arrival  at  Sattara— Ruins 
of  the  Fort — Labyrinths  and  Dungeons — Palace  of  the 

IT  was  nearly  five  o'clock  when  we  started  on 
our  journey.  I  was  all  impatience  to  be 
off,  to  see  two  hundred  and  twenty  miles  of 
Indian  country,  with  its  strange  people,  native 
towns,  rural  villages,  and  temples.  To  me 
every  bush  by  the  roadside  was  a  source  of  in- 
terest, because  it  grew  in  a  quarter  of  the 
world  which  my  mind  had  been  accustomed  to 
dwell  upon  as  a  far-away  mystery.  Our  mode 
of  progression  was  by  no  means  romantic.  We 
rolled  along  in  a  couple  of  very  comfortable 
britskas,  drawn  by  horses,  or  tattoos  (the 
native  pony),  as  the  case  might  be.  The  three 
grown-up  people,  and  Mr.  Bustle,  occupied  one 


100       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

interior,  the  nurses  and  children  rilled  the  other ; 
and  on  the  box  of  each  carriage  a  man-servant 
sat  by  the  side  of  the  driver,  one  being  the  cook,  a 
very  important  person  in  Indian  travel.  In  addi- 
tion, each  carriage  was  provided  with  a  scantily- 
clad  individual,  who,  smothered  in  dust,  perched 
as  he  could  upon  the  piles  of  bags  and  boxes 
strapped  on  behind.  But  appearances  are  de- 
ceitful, for  with  the  exception  of  G ,  who 

held  the  money-bags,  he  was  out-and-out  the 
most  important  personage  of  the  party — he 
was  the  steersman.  The  coachman,  whom  I 
have  mis-named  the  driver,  held  the  reins,  but 
the  guard  directed  the  horses  whenever  there 
was  a  difficulty.  If  we  were  likely  to  go  over 
the  side  of  the  road,  which  on  the  level  was 
frequently  banked  up,  to  get  into  a  ditch,  or  to 
meet  a  cart,  or  if  the  Deccan  ponies  gibbed  or 
ran  away,  an  amusement  to  which  they  were 
equally  addicted,  this  person  was,  or  ought  to 
be,  at  their  heads  in  a  moment.  About  every 
second  port  (a  port  being  in  general  seven 
miles)  the  guard  was  changed.  Some  of  these 
men  were  vigilant,  others  were  sleepy,  and 
once  we  had  an  unfortunate  who  was  afflicted 
with  leprosy,  which  was  not  pleasant,  as  he  sat 
upon  the  luggage. 

We  were  soon  out  of  English  Poonah,  and 


passing  under  the  sacred  hill  of  Parvati.  The 
white  temples  upon  its  summit  were  flushed 
with  rose  colour,  the  ruined  palace  was  bathed 
in  light,  and  the  glass  still  remaining  in  the 
horse-shoe  window,  from  whence  the  last  of  the 
Peishwas  beheld  the  total  rout  of  his  large  army 
by  a  comparatively  small  English  force,  flashed 
in  the  rays  of  the  setting  sun.  Even  stern, 
black  Singhar  had  caught  the  glow,  and  was 
dyed  in  glorious  purple  light.  Our  road  lay 
across  a  tolerably  fertile  plain,  bounded  by  the 
great  ghat  we  were  about  to  cross.  It  was 
nearly  dark  when  we  began  to  ascend.  Our 
doors  would  fly  open,  and  had  to  be  secured  by 
ropes ;  the  wheels  were  very  ricketty,  and 
nothing  would  induce  the  candles  to  burn.  Dick 
roared,  so  the  hurricane-lamp  was  lit,  and  hung 
in  the  second  carriage.  There  was  no  moon, 
but  the  night  was  clear  and  light.  The  road, 
which  was  excellent,  was  perpetually  winding 
round  sharp  spurs  of  rock ;  and  although  every 
really  dangerous  part  was  protected  by  a  sub- 
stantial two  feet  wall,  still,  when  one  looked 
over  it,  and  glanced  down,  far  down,  into  the 
deep  black  gorges,  the  sight  was  enough  to 
make  one  shudder.  Many  a  camp-fire  blazed 
upon  the  plain  of  Poonah,  shining  out  at  first 
large  and  brilliant,  but  waning  as  we  mounted 


higher  and  higher,  until  at  last  they  appeared 
as  mere  specks  of  red  light,  which  finally  van- 
ished. Near  the  top  of  the  ghat  we  passed 
through  a  long  tunnel,  with  rows  of  lamps  along- 
each  side.  The  ribbed  brickwork  with  which 
it  was  lined  was  admirable,  and,  as  far  as  we 
could  judge,  appeared  to  be  the  very  perfection 
of  masonry.  We  had  climbed  to  another  level 
of  the  Deccan,  and  had  no  descent  to  encounter. 
The  horses  were  changed  in  the  most  leisurely 
fashion.  The  pauses  were  not  unpleasant,  as 
we  generally  walked  about  the  while,  and 
watched  many  a  novel  scene.  Rows  of  patient 
horses  stood  in  long  open  sheds.  Dim  lights 
flitted  to  and  fro,  glimmering  upon  big  tur- 
baned  and  ebony  men  ;  and  when  the  harness- 
ing really  began,  a  great  bundle  of  some  dried 
thorn  was  cast  down  and  kindled.  Instead  of 
blazing  up,  it  gave  forth  a  glowing  light,  beauti- 
ful as  a  fire-work.  The  rest  of  our  night's 
work  lay  under  vaulted  avenues  of  large-limbed 
trees,  with  heavy  foliage,  which  showered  down 
sweet  blossoms  upon  our  heads.  We  came  to 
no  harm,  although  they  were  mango  flowers, 
which  play  a  great  part  in  Hindoo  mythology. 
The  mango  flower  is  sacred  to  the  God  Kama, 
the  Indian  Cupid.  He  is  supposed  to  be  armed 
with  a  bow  of  sugar  cane,  the  string  of  which 


consists  of  bees,  and  be  bears  five  arrows,  each 
tipped  with  the  blossom  of  a  flower,  which 
pierce  the  heart  through  the  five  senses.  His 
favourite  weapon  is  that  pointed  by  the  mango 
flower.  The  beautiful  double  white  jessamine, 
used  at  religious  ceremonies,  wreathes  itself 
round  this  favoured  tree,  and  is  called  "  The 
Bride  of  the  Mango."  Here  and  there  a  giant 
limb  had  paid  the  debt  of  Nature,  and  through 
the  space  left  open  by  its  fall  the  extreme  gran- 
deur of  the  moonless  sky  became  visible.  The 
stars  were  wonderfully  large  and  luminous,  and 
shone  with  a  calm,  steady  light.  In  the  latitude 
in  which  we  were  now  travelling,  the  twinkling 
effect  observable  in  Europe  is  seldom  seen. 

We  were  a  silent  party,  each  thinking  his 
own  thoughts ;  and  as  I  gazed  upon  that 
grandest  of  constellations,  the  Southern  Cross, 
I  for  the  first  time  realised  that  I  was  in  the 
East.  My  somewhat  solemn  reverie  terminated 
abruptly,  when  we  turned  down  a  narrow  lane, 
and  drew  up  before  the  travellers'  bungalow,  with 
the  exciting  reflection — what  was  to  become 
of  us  if  it  was  full  1  But,  by  a  happy  chance, 
three  rooms  were  vacant ;  and  our  arrangements 
being  quickly  made,  the  supper  we  had  brought 
with  us  was  soon  spread  and  demolished,  and 
thankfully  we  sought  repose  upon   the    broad 

104       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

sofas,  which,  though  not  furnished  with  bedding, 
were  capable  of  being  made  very  comfortable. 
I   was   awake   with    the   birds,   which  were 

twittering  away  at  a  great  rate.     G had 

promised  me  a  walk,  in  which  we  were  to  see  a 
fine  banyan-tree,  populated  by  monkeys.  In  the 
verandah  we  paused  for  a  moment  to  take  a 
preliminary  cup  of  tea,  and  look  at  the  land- 
scape before  us,  which  was  very  pretty,  with 
green  hedges  and  fields,  and  far-stretching 
mango  woods,  lit  up  with  such  light-tinted 
blossoms  as  those  whose  influence  we  had 
escaped  the  previous  night.  The  branching 
trees  concealed  the  broad  river  which  flowed  at 
their  feet,  but  not  the  bright  brown  line  of 
hill  which  extended  further  away.  We  wended 
our  way  through  the  single  long  street  of  the 
little  town,  which  we  considered  just  too  large 

to  be  called  a  village.     G pronounced  it 

to  be  exceptionally  clean.  To  my  unaccustomed 
eye  there  was  much  in  its  aspect  that  was 
strange  and  picturesque.  Groups  of  dark  people 
were  squatted  in  the  open  huts,  for  they  were 
little  more,  with  possibly  a  dark  chamber  in  their 
rear.  Strange  little  altars,  ornamented  with 
rough  patterns  in  red  and  yellow,  were  scattered 
about.  There  was  a  lofty  tree,  a  sacred  peepul- 
tree,   with  a  wide    circular  ring   of   masonry 


around  it,  and  a  large,  rough,  red-smeared 
stone,  with  a  wreath  of  flowers  twined  round 
it.  Strange  men — Fakirs — with  plaited  petti- 
coats, and  great  fans  of  palm  leaves,  were 
loitering  about,  and  no  doubt  extracting  money 
from  the  pockets  of  the  poor.  To  me  all  was 
new  and  interesting. 

We  took  a  country  path,  which  brought  us  to 
the  banyan,  a  noble  tree,  with  a  deeply-in- 
dented bole — in  fact,  a  collection  of  boles  grown 
together  in  all  directions ;  brown  tendrils  were 
hanging  down,  anxious  to  root  themselves,  and 
spring  forth  in  independent  beauty.  The  leaf 
of  this  tree  is  large,  a  fine  deep  green,  and  very 
glossy ;  and  the  shade  it  casts  is  profound.  The 
brightest  sunbeam  cannot  penetrate  through 
the  dense  foliage.  But  where  were  the  mon- 
keys ? — we  looked  in  vain,  but  not  one  was 
visible.  It  was  no  unusual  disappointment — in 
other  countries,  at  Gibraltar,  in  the  glen  of  the 
ChifFa,  and  in  Kabylia,  I  had  been  promised  a 
similar  spectacle,  but  with  the  same  result.  We 
pursued  our  way  along  the  broken  ground, 
which  rose  a  few  feet  above  the  river  Nera,  a 
broad,  swift,  and  by  no  means  muddy  stream, 

which  caused  G to  sigh  as  the  fish  rose  to 

the   surface  and  spread  circles  in  the  water.* 

*  1  believe  the  following  remarks  as  to  fishing  in  India 


Half  a  mile  brought  us  to  a  pretty  range  of 
rock,  green  with  many  an  unknown  plant  and 
flowering  shrub.  A  lively  little  stream  came 
tumbling  over  the  boulder  stones.  It  might  have 
been  a  Yorkshire  beck ;  but  looking  down  upon 
it,  instead  of  a  spired  church,  there  stood  a 
Hindoo  temple,  with  a  pyramidal  roof,  which 
we  climbed  up  to  explore.  It  was  a  rude, 
square  edifice,  lighted  from  the  doorless  en- 
trance. A  conical  stone,  "  the  Singa/'  occupied  a 
low  platform  in   the   centre.      An   intelligent- 

to  be  true : — "  If  one  only  knows  where  to  look  for  it,  there 
is  certainly  as  good  fishing  to  be  got  in  India  as  in  any 
other  country  in  the  world.  We  once  knew  a  brave  old 
gentleman  in  Northern  India — who,  by  the  way,  used  to 
fish  from  an  elephant — that  pronounced  India  to  be  the 
great  fishing  country — not  altogether  without  reason,  we 
think.  A  writer  in  the  Field,  of  October  9,  1869,  speaks 
of  catching  seven  hundred  and  one  pounds  in  five  days  with 
the  rod,  in  the  Punjab  ;  and  in  one  day  he  landed  three 
hundred  and  thirty- eight  pounds.  The  river  was  the 
Punah,  an  affluent  of  the  Jhilam,  that  rises  in  the  Pir-Pan- 
jal.  This  river,  which  is  about  a  hundred  and  twenty 
miles  in  length,  is  about  the  breadth  of  the  Tweed  at  Cold- 
stream ;  but  the  pools  are  deeper  and  the  current  more  rapid. 
The  Mahsir,  or  Indian  salmon,  is  the  fish  that  affords  the 
best  sport  in  this,  as  in  every  other  river  of  India.  It  is  a 
grand  carp  that  attains  a  weight  of  seventy  pounds  and 
upwards,  and  affords  more  play  to  the  angler,  and  as  dainty 
a  dish  to  the  gourmet,  as  the  Spey  or  Ness  salmon.  The 
Mahsir  is  often  fished  with  a  fly." — Times  of  India  Hand- 
book of  Hindustan,  p.  108. 


looking  young  man,  who,  with  the  simple  curi- 
osity characteristic  of  Eastern  manners,  had 
followed  us,  said  that  it  was  not  a  real  Singa 
— I  suppose  that  meant  a  Singa  not  properly 
consecrated — adding,  "that  he,  being  a  Ma- 
homedan,  thought  it  very  strange  that  men 
should  worship  a  stone."     I  ventured  to  remark, 

through  Gf ,  that  some  few  did  but  regard  it 

as  a  symbol,  upon  which  he  shook  his  head  and 
fell  back. 

The  Singadari  are  a  distinct  and  very  large- 
sect  of  people,  who  are  exceedingly  stern  and 
opinionated.  They  will  not  eat  what  has  been 
cooked  by  a  Brahman,  and  differ  in  their  reli- 
gious tenets,  denying  the  doctrine  of  Metem- 
psychosis, rejecting  caste,  and  leaving  in  abey- 
ance some  domestic  observances  which  are 
rigidly  practised  by  other  Hindoos.  Professor 
Wilson  believes  the  Singa  to  be  the  most 
ancient  object  of  worship  adopted  in  India, 
subsequently  to  the  ritual  of  the  Vedas,  which 
was  chiefly,  if  not  wholly,  addressed  to  the 
elements,  and  particularly  fine.  The  Singadari 
do  not  in  general  burn  their  dead.  They  pre- 
fer burying  them,  and  that  in  a  sitting  posture. 
A  man  of  this  sect  is  at  once  recognised  by  the 
silver  box  he  carries  at  his  side,  containing  the 
emblem  of  his  faith,  if  not  by  a  little    silver 

108       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

relic-box,  hung  to  a  necklace  of  beads  or  ber- 
ries. The  very  poor  wear  a  stone  wrapped  up 
in  a  bit'of  cloth,  suspended  from  the  neck  by  a 
string.     . 

On  a  ledge  of  rock  close  to  the  temple  were 
ranged  three  colossal  horses'  heads,  fairly  carved 
in  wood,  and  painted  in  glowing  colours,  the 

meaning  of  which  I  eagerly  demanded.     G 

was  puzzled,  and  referred  to  our  self-constituted 
guide,  who  informed  us  that  they  were  orna- 
ments, the  prows  of  old  barges  which  had  glided 
for  many  a  day  up  and  down  the  placid  river 
at  our  feet.  The  Nera  is  a  charming  stream, 
smooth  and  clear  for  many  months  of  the  year, 
but  during  the  Monsoon  it  swells  into  a  devas- 
tating muddy  torrent.  The  short  green  herb- 
age was  stained  with  dark  spots,  which  told 
the  sad  tale  that  it  was  the  burning  Ghat,  the 
plateau  from  whence  the  charred  bones  of  many 
"a  rude  forefather  of  the  hamlet"  had  been 
cast  into  the  purifying  waters  below.  A  few 
tombs  were  dotted  about,  mere  steps  of  stone, 
with  a  pillar  in  the  centre,  memorials  of  those 
whose  bodies  had  suffered  cremation  there,  tri- 
butes from  the  living,  which  must  soon  lose 
their  significance,  for  upon  such  stones  no  name 
is  ever  recorded. 

Having  nothing  particular  to  do  during  the 


heat  of  the  day,  I  investigated  the  travellers 
bungalow.  Small  things  interested  me  greatly, 
for  they  were  now  imbued  with  all  the  charm 
of  novelty.  It  was  a  low  bungalow,  consisting 
of  a  ground-floor  placed  upon  a  raised  platform, 
encircled  by  a  wide  verandah,  completely  shaded 
by  the  overhanging  eaves  and  lattice  work,  in 
and  out  of  which  twined  creeping  plants.  I 
was  charmed  to  find  a  small  self-sown  sensitive 
plant,  which  I  experimented  upon  to  my 
heart's  content.  The  interior  of  the  bungalow 
consisted  of  three  long  rooms,  scantily  furnished, 
a  table,  a  few  chairs,  a  wide  cane  sofa,  to  serve 
as  a  bed,  and,  perhaps,  some  rough  shelves, 
suspended  from  the  white-washed  wall,  and  a 
skeleton  frame,  intended  to  receive  the  metal 
basin,  which  the  traveller  is  expected  to  supply, 
as  well  as  a  looking-glass,  should  he  consider 
such  an  article  necessary.  To  each  chamber 
was  attached  a  bath-room,  lighted  in  a  Saracenic 
fashion,  open  spaces  being  filled  in  by  tubular 
tiles  split  in  half,  and  placed  in  rows  one  above 
the  other,  forming  a  very  effective  pattern.  If 
the  road  be  much  frequented,  a  messman  is 
attached  to  the  bungalow,  whose  duty  it  is  to 
provide  a  simple  meal  if  demanded,  as  also  to  lend 
linen  and  couverts,  as  our  French  friends  would 
say.    It  sometimes  happens,  however,  that  no 


messman  is   at  hand,  and  that  nothing  edible 
can  be  procured,  in  which  case  the  wary  tra- 
veller   generally   takes   care    to    be    provided 
beforehand  with  tinned  provisions,  biscuits,  and 
liquor,  as  a  stock  to  draw  upon.     Water  is  an 
extra  charge.     Chambers  cannot  be  occupied  as 
a  matter  of  right  for  more  than  three  days,  after 
which  time  the  accommodation  can  be  claimed 
by  other  people.     On  leaving,  each  person  pays 
a  shilling  for  the  accommodation  he  has  received 
during  twenty-four  hours' halt.  Thesebuugalows 
are  generally  placed  at  a  little  distance  from  a 
town,  and   are  now  in   much  greater  request 
than  formerly,  the  extravagant    hospitality  of 
olden   days  having  much  declined.     They  are 
surrounded  by  a  couple  of  acres  of  ground,  on 
which   the   offices   are   placed.      In  India,   the 
kitchen  is  invariably   some   distance   from  the 
house,  as  the  odour  of  cooking  would  be  intol- 
erable in  so  hot  a  climate,  and  meals  are    in 
consequence  served  upon  hot-water  plates. 

Nothing  to  the  stranger  is  more  puzzling  than 
the  orthography  of  Indian  proper  names,  which 
are  too  often  rendered  according  to  fancy  on 
maps,  in  books,  at  the  post-office,  and  by  the 
friend  whose  aid  you  seek  in  a  dilemma.  At 
our  first  halting-place  I  experienced  my  first 
difficulty,   in  consequence  of  being  unable  to 

THE  BOY  AND  THE  BABY.        Ill 

determine  whether  it  was  called  Sherwan,  or 
Sherwell,  or  Sirwull,  or  any  other  similar  varia- 
tion that  inquirers  chose  to  put  upon  the  sound 
with  which  their  demands  for  information  were 
answered.  Some  of  the  most  accurate  maps 
give  the  names  of  towns  twice  over,  printed 
one  above  the  other.  This  incongruity  will, 
however,  in  time  be  remedied,  for  it  has  oc- 
casioned so  much  confusion  in  Government 
offices,  that  a  book  is  about  to  be  issued,  and 
forwarded  to  all  officials,  giving  the  names  of 
places  according  to  a  uniform  rule — a  measure 
which  will  be  productive  of  great  comfort  to 
those  who,  like  myself,  find  Hindustani  words, 
of  every  kind  and  class,  a  perpetual  stumbling- 

I  was  sitting  in  the  verandah,  when  a  boy 
came  up,  carrying  a  little  copper-coloured  child, 
with  great  eyes,  and  a  wild  expression  of  coun- 
tenance— altogether,  such  an  uncanny-looking 
thing  that  I  stretched  out  my  hand  to  touch 
it,  to  see  if  it  really  was  a  baby.  Away  flew 
the  boy  on  the  instant  to  what  he  considered 
a  safe  distance,  when  he  turned  at  bay,  ready 
for  another  start  if  he  found  himself  pursued. 
I  mentioned  the  circumstance  to  M.,  who 
replied,  "  Of  course  he  ran  away,  for  in  his 
opinion  your  touch   would  have   polluted  the 


child.  Don't  you  know  that  the  first  rising  in 
the  Mutiny  was  occasioned  by  a  clergyman  who 
put  his  hand  upon  the  head  of  a  little  Hindoo 
child?" — a  fact  of  which  I  very  humbly  pro- 
fessed my  ignorance.  I  was  much  rejoiced  when 
long  shadows  began  to  fall,  and  I  saw  signs 
of  packing,  a  task  which  was  soon  accomplished, 
for  it  is  one  at  which  Hindoo  servants  are  very 

Like  the  camel  driver  in  the  song,  "  we  had 
many  a  mile  to  go," — forty,  I  believe,  before  we 
should  be  entitled  to  the  supper  and  beds  which 
awaited  us  at  Sattara,  and  we  consequently  set 
off  on  our  journey  earlier  than  usual.  The 
evening  was  beautiful,  and  we  looked  forward 
with  confidence  to  the  continuance  of  such  de- 
lightful weather — a  confidence  which  is  one  of 
the  most  pleasant  features  in  the  climate  of 
India.  One  knows  with  certainty  that  for 
months  together,  for  so  many  hours  of  the  day, 
the  wind  will  blow  from  east  to  west  over  the 
heated  plain,  followed  by  the  blessed  change 
which  is  produced  by  a  cool  breeze  setting  in 
from  the  Indian  Ocean.  In  making  so  compre- 
hensive an  observation,  I  am  aware  that  I  am 
falling  into  a  somewhat  loose  manner  of  speak- 
ing, for  there  are  as  many  different  climates, 
customs,   and  races  in    the    1,287,483    square 


miles  of  its  vast  territory  as  in  the  whole  of 
Europe.  The  term,  as  used  by  me,  refers  to 
Western  India,  the  only  part  of  the  Peninsula 
with  which  I  have  at  present  a  personal  ac- 

Before  reaching  that  shelf  of  the  Deccan  in 
which  Sattara  is  situated,  we  had  to  ascend  the 
Kamski  Ghat,  which  is  exceedingly  steep.  We 
changed  horses  at  the  foot  of  the  pass,  and 
unfortunately  got  tattoos,  which  were  ad- 
dicted to  jibbing.  Although  at  first  the  ascent 
was  easy,  unless  backwards,  the  brutes  again 
and  again  refused   to   go   forward,    and  more 

than  once  came  to  a  perfect  standstill.     G 

and  the  other  men,  along  with  volunteers  col- 
lected on  the  road,  had,  after  each  pause,  to 
start  the  vehicle  by  main  force.  If  at  last  the 
ponies  moved  in  the  right  direction,  well  and 

good,  G vaulted  into  the  carriage  and  on 

we  went.  If  they  did  not,  or  there  was  a  con- 
siderable drop  on  one  side,  M.  had  to  scramble 
out  over  the  closed  door,  with  her  carriage  cloak 
in  her  hand,  whilst  I  followed  with  Bustle 
under  my  arm.  I  saw  with  satisfaction  that, 
however  badly  the  horses  behaved,  they  were 
never  flogged.  Their  only  punishment  was  that 
of  being  scolded  in  torrents  of  the  harshest 
Mahratta.     The  brutes  at  last  gave  up  all  idea 

VOL.  I.  1 

114      MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

of  the  stable  they  had  quitted,  and  then,  begin- 
ning to  turn  their  minds  to  the  stable  that  was 
to  come,  went  on,  not,  however,  without  con- 
tinuing to  indulge  in  some  ebullitions  of  temper. 
As  the  road  grew  steeper  and  steeper,  their 
pranks  became  dangerous,  and  we  agreed  that 
it  would  be  best  to  get  out  and  walk  to  the  top 
of  the  ghat.  The  black  gulfs  below  were  pro- 
foundly deep,  and  the  mountain  spurs  were 
rugged  and  abrupt ;  while  our  road  was  but  a 
blasted  path  cut  out  of  the  crags.  The  night 
was  very  dark,  and  as  the  crescent  moon  had 
vanished  long  ago,  we  saw  that  beautiful  ap- 
pearance, the  Magellanic  Clouds,  to  great  ad- 
vantage ;  and  the  Milky  Way — "  the  Great 
Eiver/'  as  the  Arabs  call  it — was  singularly 
bright.  Still  there  was  not  sufficient  light  to 
make  the  road  we  traversed  visible,  and  one  of 
our  men — Moideen  (the  Light  of  Keligion) — 
alas !  a  perfect  scamp — was  obliged  to  guide 
us  with  the  hurricane  lamp.  As  we  marched 
along  in  single  file,  the  effect  of  our  gigantic 
shadows  thrown  upon  the  smooth  surface  of  the 
rock  was  exceedingly  droll — M.  and  I,  with  our 
pointed  hats,  resembling  nothing  so  much  as  a 
couple  of  witches  on  their  way  to  a  Sabbath 
meeting  ;  G a  burly  giant ;  Bustle  a  bull- 
dog on  stilts ;  and  the  Light  of  Religion  a  stick 


with  a  turban  stuck  upon  it.  If  any  poor  super- 
stitious Hindoo  caught  sight  of  the  shadowy 
procession  without  hearing  our  voices,  he  must 
have  been  sadly  frightened.  When  we  reached 
the  post-house  at  the  top  of  the  mountain,  we 
were  quite  tired,  and  continued  to  be  for  some 
time  very  anxious.  We  looked  into  the  black 
night,  and  neither  saw  nor  heard  anything  of 
the  second  carriage,  concealed  as  it  was  by  the 
abrupt  turns  in  the  road,  until  it  was  close  upon 
us.  We  were  thankful  that  we  had  no  descent 
to  encounter. 

One  more  trial  awaited  us,  as  we  had  to  cross 
the  Koo-i-nor,  close  to  its  junction  with  the 
sacred  Krishna.  During  the  rains  the  Koo-i- 
nor  is  an  impetuous  roaring  torrent,  the  terror 
of  the  mail-cart.  In  dry  weather  it  retreats  into 
its  deep  bed,  leaving  its  broken  cliffs  and  muddy 
strand  exposed.  Bridge  after  bridge  has  been 
built  and  washed  away,  consequently  it  has 
either  to  be  forded  or  crossed  in  a  ferry-boat. 
The  easiest  time  for  crossing  it  is  when  the 
passage  is  made  at  full  flood,  the  water  then 
rising  level  with  the  steep  banks.  The  most 
difficult  is  when  the  river  is  neither  high  nor 
low,  for  then  there  is  no  secure  landing  for  the 

carriages    ferried    across    the   stream.     G 

grew  anxious  as  we  approached  the  steep,  tor- 


116       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

tuous  declivity,  especially  as  it  was  very  dark ; 
and  when  the  light  we  carried  for  a  moment 
pierced  the  clouds  of  dust  we  raised,  it  disclosed 
a  cliff  with  a  crumbling  brink,  a  precipitous 
descent,  with  no  protection  whatever.  I  believe 
that  we  owed  our  safety  to  the  rush  the  horses 
made  into  the  river,  which  they  gained  with 
a  splash  and  a  thud.  M.  grasped  her  cloak,  I 
hugged  my  dog,  and  with  the  hands  which 
were  at  liberty  we  clung  to  the  vehicle,  fully 
prepared  for  a  ducking.  The  carriages  rocked 
and  bumped,  but  there  were  numbers  of  men  at 
hand  ready  to  steady  them.  The  plunging  of 
the  struggling  tattoos,  the  dancing  lights,  the 
momentary  glimpses  of  the  rushing  river,  the 
noise  and  shouting  of  the  men,  made  it  a  scene 
of  some  variety,  and  of  indescribable  confusion. 
Not  the  least  part  of  the  difficulty  lay  in  the 
steep  gully  the  panting  horses  had  to  climb 
when  the  opposite  side  was  reached.  Half 
dragged  by  them,  half  pushed  along  through 
the  pulverized  mud,  we  did  at  last  reach  the 
level  road.  After  we  had  arranged  the  car- 
riage, we  walked  about  to  compose  ourselves. 
The  delay  was  tedious,  but  unavoidable,  for  an 
important  package  had  slipped  from  its  ropes, 
and  was  missing.  At  last,  however,  it  was 
found,  half  buried  in  the  dust  of  the  opposite 

SATTARA.  117 

bank,  and  once  more  it  was  in  our  power  to 
proceed.  Having  seated  ourselves,  the  horn 
was  blown,  and  the  horses  started,  but,  alas  ! 
mistook  their  direction,  and  wheeling  round, 
made  a  rush  down  the  steep  track  by  which  we 
had  mounted.  Their  heads  were  seized,  they 
were  steadied  for  a  moment,  and  once  more  we 
were  compelled  to  lay  hold  of  our  precious  pos- 
sessions, and  jump  out.  How  the  carriage  was 
turned  without  being  upset,  I  cannot  say,  but 
our  unfortunate  cook  had  his  foot  a  good  deal 
crushed.  It  was  two  o'clock  in  the  morning 
before  we  reached  our  destination.  I  shall  ever 
remember  the  river  which  flows  from  those 
mountains  of  light,  the  Koo-i-nor  Hills. 

When  I  awoke  in  the  morning,  I  could 
scarcely  believe  that  I  was  in  Sattara,  Sattara 
— I  loved  to  caress  the  musical  name,  which 
sounded  like  that  of  an  old  friend,  for  there  had 
M/s  year  of  Indian  life  been  spent.  In  my  far- 
away home  hung  a  view  of  it,  taken  upon  the 
spot.  Many  a  time  had  I  gazed  at  it  with  a 
yearning  feeling,  and  now  the  reality  was  before 
my  eyes.  There,  not  a  mile  away,  was  the 
isolated  mountain,  with  its  craggy  sides,  ancient 
walls,  and  perpendicular  precipices.  It  made 
me  shudder  to  look  at  the  narrow,  tortuous 
ledge  up  which  she  had   so  often  ridden  her 

118       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

much-prized  thorough-bred  Deccan  pony,  laugh- 
ingly declaring  that  his  legs  were  much  safer 
than  her  own.  The  grim  battlements,  even  in 
clear  early  light,  could  scarcely  be  distinguished 
from  the  rock  itself ;  still  I  could  discern  three 
out  of  the  seven  round  towers  from  which  the 
fort  derives  its  poetical  designation. 

Sattara  is  a  corruption  of  Sath-Istara — that 
is,  the  Seven  Stars,  or  Pleiades.  No  fortress  in 
all  Mahratta  has  been  more  connected  with  the 
historical  events  of  many  centuries,  and  its 
Rajahs  were  among  the  most  powerful  of  the 
Deccan  princes.  An  ancient  copper-plate,  with 
an  inscription,  shows  that  it  was  founded  in  the 
year  1192.  In  due  time  it  fell  under  the  do- 
minion of  the  Mahomedan  kings,  who  reigned 
at  Bejipur ;  but  in  1673,  after  a  protracted 
siege,  it  was  captured  by  the  great  Sevaji,  and 
afterwards,  with  its  town,  became  the  capital 
of  the  Mahratta  Government.  Six  years  after- 
wards, it  was  besieged  by  the  Monguls,  two 
thousand  of  whom  perished  by  the  inopportune 
explosion  of  one  of  their  own  mines.  How  the 
rocky  mountain  must  have  trembled !  For 
hundreds  of  years  was  this  spot  dyed  in  blood, 
and  over  the  perpendicular  scarp,  which  I  saw 
cutting  the  blue  sky  with  so  sharp  an  edge, 
thousands  of  victims   had  been  hurled.     Now 

THE  FORT.  119 

the  Seven  Stars  are  ruined,  the  English  having 
effected  in  an  hour  what  neither  time  nor  the 
enemy  could  accomplish.  Its  fate  has  been 
that  of  many  a  mountain  eyrie.  Its  defences 
were  blown  into  fragments  by  gunpowder — no 
unnecessary  proceeding  after  the  Mutiny,  it 
being  judged  that,  in  case  of  another  rising,  the 
existence  of  these  strongholds  might  be  exceed- 
ingly dangerous. 

M.  and  her  husband,  along  with  a  friend, 
once  spent  a  week  in  the  fortress,  choosing  for 
their  abode  in  it  a  very  long  room,  probably 
the  old  banqueting-hall,  which  had  been  spared. 
Down  the  middle  of  this  apartment  ran  a  long 
line  of  pillars,  connected  with  one  another  by 
light  arches,  made  of  hard  dark  wood,  and 
beautifully  carved.  They  brought  up  to  it 
camp  furniture,  and  partitioning  off  a  room  at 
each  end,  enjoyed  themselves  exceedingly.  M. 
spent  great  part  of  her  time  in  sketching,  draw- 
ing the  gateway,  with  the  two  fish,  the  emblem 
of  nobility,  carved  above  it,  and  the  ruined 
temples.  (There  were  originally  sixteen  of 
them,  eleven  of  which  were  dedicated  to  Shiva, 
whose  worship  was  that  of  a  stern  religion,  and 
five  to  the  cruel  Bavane.)  Only  one  of  the 
number  remains  perfect,  with  a  gilded  image 
of  the  bloodthirsty  divinity  in  a  squatting  pos- 

]20       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

ture.  Nor  did  M.  neglect  the  old  tanks,  and 
the  fern-covered  wells.  Under  the  fort  laby- 
rinths of  narrow  ways  lead  to  the  dungeons — 
dark  holes  hewn  from  the  hard-hearted  black 
rock.  What  sufferings  must  have  been  endured 
in  the  bowels  of  this  hill,  outwardly  so  sunny 
and  so  free !  There  are  also  secret  passages, 
by  which  access  to  the  open  country  is  obtain- 
ed. These  were  constructed  to  afford  means  of 
escape  in  times  of  peril. 

One  of  the  legends  attached  to  the  place,  al- 
though very  horrible,  is  thought  not  unlikely  to 
be  true.  It  is  said  that  when  the  fort  was  built 
a  youth  and  a  maiden  were  buried  alive  under 
the  principal  entrance.  A  circumstance  which 
may  not  be  improbable,  when  we  remember  that 
in  many  parts  of  India  a  belief  in  the  efficacy  of 
human  sacrifice  still  lingers,  and  that  this  horri- 
ble practice  is  still  perpetrated  among  the  wild 
hill  tribes,  who  have  never  yet  been  conquered 
by  the  Aryan  race.  The  Mahrs,  the  supposed 
aborigines  of  the  country,  who  still  exist  in  the 
town  of  Sattara,  at  certain  seasons  of  the  year 
ascend  to  the  fort  in  their  gala  dresses,  and  in 
a  very  cruel  manner  (too  cruel  to  relate)  sacri- 
fice a  buffalo  in  front  of  the  temple.* 

*  Many  of  the  Hindoo  temples  are  small.  It  is  con- 
sidered sufficient  if  they  are  large  enough  to  contain  the 
idol,  the  officiating  priest,  and  the  sacrificial  instruments. 

AMBALI.  121 

The  fort  commands  a  beautiful  view  over  a 
fertile  plain,  completely  surrounded  by  hills  of 
every  varying  form,  swelling  into  mountains 
towards  the  west.  Among  the  blue  plateaus  and 
peaks  the  lofty  Ambali  is  a  prominent  object,  a 
hill  which,  according  to  Hindoo  mythology,  was 
a  pebble  which  slipped  from  a  mountain  that 
Hanuman  (the  monkey  god)  was  carrying  to 
help  in  making  a  bridge  from  India  to  Ceylon, 
in  Rama's  war  with  the  monster-headed  king  of 
the  island. 



Re-engagement  of  an  Old  Servant — The  Old  Palace — 
Eelics  of  Sevaji — Tale  of  Indian  Treachery — The 
Combat  with  Claws — Junction  of  the  Krishna 
and  the  Zena — The  Parsee  Tower  of  Silence — 
Religious  Ideas  and  Symbols  of  the  Hindoos — Festival 
in  Honour  of  Shiva — Hindoo  Sects — Turbans — The 
Savi — Condition  of  Hindoo  Women — Ornaments — 
Returning  from  the  Fair — Sattara  Monkeys — A  Jaina 
Temple — The  Burning  Ghat. 

IN  consequence  of  its  mountainous  ring  we 
found  Sattara  so  hot  that  it  was  impossible 
to  venture  out  until  the  evening  breeze  set  in, 
when  we  took  chairs  and  sat  under  the  coolest 
verandah.  Numbers  of  scavenger  eaglets  were 
swooping  about,  to  the  terror  of  the  clucking 
hens,  who,  the  moment  these  birds  appeared, 
collected  their  broods  and  hid  themselves. 

Meanwhile,  M.  was  surrounded  by  old  ser- 
vants, some  of  whom  had  come  to  make  their 
salaams,  others  in  the  hope  of  re-entering  her 
service.  One  of  them,  an  old  man,  she  declared 
that  she  had  never   seen  so  amply  clad.      In 


order  to  present  himself  he  had  borrowed  a 
cumlie,  a  narrow  woollen  blanket,  sewed  to- 
gether, and  put  over  the  head,  in  which  he  was 
wrapped  up,  in  spite  of  the  ninety-two  degrees  of 
heat.  M.  had  employed  him  in  the  capacity 
of  carrier.  She  had  a  partiality  for  strawberries, 
a  luxury  not  to  be  procured  nearer  than  Maha- 
baleshwar,  which,  by  the  hill  paths,  was  thirty 
miles  off.  There  and  back,  twice  every  week, 
did  the  "  old  man"  trot  (he  was  probably  under 
forty),  returning  with  baskets  of  rosy  fruit, 
and  considered  himself  well  paid  in  receiving  ten 
shillings  a  month,  that  is  two  and.  sixpence  for 
every  journey  of  one  hundred  and  twenty  miles. 
After  a  little  conversation,  it  was  agreed  that  he 
should  return  to  the  service  of  his  old  mistress, 
not  as  strawberry-carrier,  but  to  look  after  the 
dogs  and  poultry.  But  before  he  could  leave 
►Sattara,  his  affairs  had  to  be  arranged,  as  he 
was  in  debt,  owing  no  less  than  seven  shillings. 
He  accordingly  received  a  small  sum  of  money 
in  advance,  with  which  he  trotted  off  to  Belgaum 
at  once  with  a  beaming  countenance.  The 
transaction  took  place  in  the  Mahratta  language, 
which  I  thought  sounded  very  harsh. 

Late  in  the  afternoon  Gr ,  who  had  been 

occupied   with  his  inspection  all  the  morning, 
returned  with  a  carriage,  and  took  me  to  see  the 


old  palace.  We  drove  through  a  wide  street, 
in  which  endless  numbers  of  respectable-looking 
people  were  taking  the  air,  for  by  this  time  the 
sea-breeze  had  set  in.  The  men  were  habited 
either  in  white,  or  partially  enveloped  in  the 
duthi,  or  waist-cloth — a  long  piece  of  yellow- 
white  cotton  (the  produce  of  a  shrub  which 
attains  the  height  of  some  six  feet),  which  is 
wround  round  the  body,  passed  between  the 
legs,  and  tucked  in,  in  some  mysterious  fashion. 
The  palace  has,  externally,  only  its  size  to  recom- 
mend it,  but  it  stands  advantageously  on  a  large 
open  space,  which  had  no  doubt  many  a  time 
been  filled  with  Sevaji's  fierce  mountaineers.  A 
few  of  the  Rajah's  soldiers  were  loitering  under 
the  colonnades.  Near  the  entrance  door  was  a 
large   iron   cage,   which   contained   a  panther, 

which  G pronounced  to  be  a  remarkably 

fine  animal.  As  we  approached  its  cage,  the 
animal's  fierce  eyes  lit  up  with  an  angry  glow, 
and  it   darted   out  its   claw,  hoping  to  catch 

G ,   who   stood  unpleasantly   near.      This 

greatly  enraged  Bustle,  and  it  was  fortunate  that 
I  held  him  in  a  strong  string,  for  our  small  cham- 
pion made  a  rush  towards  the  beast,  and  was 
all  anxiety  to  attack  it.  The  natives  who  were 
loitering  around  were  much  amused,  and  abso- 
lutely laughed. 


We  were  received  by  a  venerable-looking  old 
gentleman,  who  spoke  English  perfectly.     He 
at  once  conducted  us  into  the  vast  audience- 
hall,  which  occupied  the  centre  of  the  building. 
It  was  very  lofty,  supported  on  each  side  by 
finely-carved    wooden   pillars,    forming    colon- 
nades.    The  side  walls  were  pierced  by  lofty 
arches,  now  partially   closed  by   lattice-work; 
outside   these   now    ran    narrow    tanks,    with 
water-works  so  arranged  that   on  festive  occa- 
sions one  tall  feathery  jet  would  shoot  up  in  the 
centre  of  each.     Numberless  lustres  of  various 
sizes,  wrapped  up  in  red  cotton  bags,  were  sus- 
pended from  the  ceiling  of  the  hall.     The  effect 
when  they  were  brilliantly  lit  up  must  have  been 
very  fine.     The  end  of  the  saloon  was  occupied 
by  a  large  square  erection — the  shrine  in  which 
the  family  deity  was  placed.     All  great  Hindoo 
families  have  their  familiar  god  or  goddess,  to 
whom  they  offer  sacrifice,  and  look  for  protection. 
The  frame  of  the  temple  was  made  of  wood,  the 
interior  being  hidden  by  hangings  of  the  richest 
brocaded  satin.     The  old  man    drew  aside  the 
curtains,    and   facing  us,   raised   in    a    sitting 
posture  upon  a  throne,  we  beheld  a  large  cross- 
legged  figure  in  silver — Sevaji's  own  Bhavani, 
appropriate  goddess  for  the  ruthless  chief  of  a 
cruel  age.      She  was  represented  with  eight 


arms.  Her  oblique  eyes  seemed  to  regard  us 
with  sinister  expression.  She  wore  a  nose- 
ring, necklaces,  bracelets,  and  anklets,  and 
had  a  conical  head-dress.  Her  altar  was  dressed 
with  green  velvet,  magnificently  embroidered  in 

In  this  sanctuary  lay  SevajTs  sword,  which 
he  called  Bhavani,  after  his  tutelar  goddess,  a 
weapon  which  is  now  an  object  of  worship. 
Strewn  about  the  dais  were  the  sacrificial  vessels 
and  instruments,  consisting  of  dishes,  lamps, 
cups,  bowls,  animals  bearing  upon  their  backs 
the  lotus  flower  (probably  for  incense),  and 
other  articles,  the  use  of  which  I  could  not 
divine.  These  various  objects  were  in  silver, 
beautifully  chased,  and  probably  very  old,  for 
in  places  the  patterns  were  worn  away.  Paral- 
lel with  the  banqueting  hall  were  long  courts, 
surrounded  by  two-storied  buildings,  which  had 
once  been  the  ladies'  apartments.  The  latticed 
window-sills  of  horse-shoe  form,  the  balconies, 
the  projecting  beams,  were  of  dark  wood,  finely 
carved  with  figures  and  foliage.  These  rooms 
looked  down  on  the  hall,  which  on  grand  occa- 
sions must  have  presented  a  charming  coup  oVceil. 
We  lingered  about  for  some  time  waiting  to  see 
the  relics,  and  were  invited  to  sit  down  upon  a 
comfortable  sofa,  our  conductor  taking  a  chair. 

SEVAJl'S  SWORD.  127 

There  was  a  great  commotion  at  this  end  of 
the  hall.  Men  were  running  about  with  cur- 
tains, and  carpets,  and  wooden  frames.  A  play 
in  the  Mahratta  tongue  was  about  to  take  place. 
Suddenly  three  or  four  dignified-looking  gentle- 
men made  their  appearance.  Our  guide  arose, 
we  bowed,  and  the  Hindoos,  salaaming  with 
gravity  and  grace,  passed  on,  and  squatted 
down  in  a  corner.  They  were  relatives  of  the 
late  Rani,  and  of  the  present  occupant  of  the 
palace,  whose  position  is  still  under  the  con- 
sideration of  the  English  Government.  The 
Rajah  of  Sattara,  who  died  in  1848,  having  no 
son,  immediately  before  his  death  adopted  a  boy, 
a  usual  mode  of  proceeding  under  such  circum- 
stances. Lord  Dalhousie,  however,  struck  Sat- 
tara  out  of  the  list  of  native  states,  bestowing 
liberal  pensions  on  the  Rajah's  widow  and 
adopted  son. 

At  last  the  honoured  relics  made  their  ap- 
pearance. The  sword  is  a  fine  Ferrara  blade, 
four  feet  in  length,  with  a  spike  upon  the  hilt 
to  thrust  with.  The  hilt  will  only  admit  a  very 
small  hand.  It  is  a  matter  of  surprise  that  so 
small  a  man  as  Sevaji  is  said  to  have  been  could 
have  wielded  such  a  weapon  with  the  remark- 
able skill  which  has  passed  into  a  proverb.  His 
precise  stature  is  not  known,  but  his  weight  is  a 


matter  of  history,  one  of  his  popular  acts  having 
been  that  he  was  weighed  against  gold,  and  his 
weight  was  found  to  be  equal  to  that  of  sixteen 
thousand  pagodas  (a  gold  coin  so  called  from 
its  being  marked  with  a  pagoda),  which  is  equal 
to  ten  stone,  the  whole  amount  being  distribut- 
ed among  Brahmans.  The  next  object  of  inte- 
rest was  his  quilted  coat  of  peach-coloured  satin, 
made  to  pass  the  knees,  and  which  contained 
very  fine  chain  armour  ;  this  was  matched  by  a 
cap  made  with  flaps,  in  order  to  protect  the 
head.  The  united  weight  of  the  cap  and  coat 
was  something  amazing.  This  suit  is  said  to 
have  been  specially  made  in  anticipation  of  an 
approaching  interview  with  his  deadly  enemy, 
Afzool  Khan,  but  it  was  probably  the  ordinary 
array  in  which  he  went  forth  to  the  combat.  The 
Mahratta  troops  always  wore  quilted  vests,  an 
excellent  protection  against  sabre  cuts,  which  we 
read  of  both  in  Egyptian  and  Grecian  warfare. 
Last  of  all  we  were  shown  the  wagnuks, 
or  tigers'  claws,  with  which  the  western  hero 
is  said  to  have  torn  open  the  stomach  of 
the  envoy  whom  he  went  forth  in  amity  to 
meet.  The  story  to  which  these  relics  bear 
silent  witness,  is  worth  relating,  in  order  to 
show  by  what  treacherous  means  the  Indian 
princes  of  the  seventeenth  century  gained  the 


undying  applause  of  their  fierce  countrymen. 
We   therefore   extract   the    following    passage 
from  Grant  Duff's  "  History  of  the  Mahrattas  "— - 
"  The  Mahomedan  Afzool  Khan  was  the  am- 
bassador   of  the   Bijipur   king,   who    ardently 
desired  the  destruction  of  the  powerful  Sevaji. 
He,  however,  diplomatically  masked  his  hatred. 
His  enemy  pursued  a  like  line  of  conduct,  and 
it  was  arranged  that  an  interview  should  take 
place   between  the   envoy   and    the   Mahratta 
prince.     Sevaji  prepared  a  place  for  the  meeting 
at  the  foot  of  the  renowed  fortress  of  Pertab- 
gurh.     He  cut  down  the  jungle  and  cleared  a 
road  for  the  Khan's  approach ;  but  every  other 
avenue  to  the  spot  was  carefully  closed.     Fif- 
teen hundred  of  Afzool  Khan's  troops  accom- 
panied him  to  within  a  few  hundred  yards  of 
Pertabgurh,  where,  for  fear  of  alarming  Sevaji, 
they  were  desired  to  halt.   Afzool  Khan,  draped 
in  a  thin  muslin  garment,  armed  only  with  his 
sword,   and   attended  by   a  single   armed  fol- 
lower, advanced  in  his  palanquin  to  an  open 
bungalow   prepared   for  the   occasion.     Sevaji 
had  made  preparations  for  his  purpose,  not  as 
if  conscious  that  he  meditated  a  criminal  and 
treacherous  deed,  but  as  if  resolved    on  some 
meritorious    and     desperate    action.      Having 
performed  his  ablutions  with  much  earnestness, 
VOL.  I.  K 

130      MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

he  laid  his  head  at  his  mother's  feet  and  be- 
sought her  blessing.  He  then  arose,  put  on  a 
steel  chain  cap,  and  chain  armour  under  his 
turban  and  cotton  gown,  concealed  a  crooked 
dagger,  or  beechwa  (the  beechwa,  or  scorpion, 
named  from  its  resemblance  to  that  reptile)  in 
his  right  sleeve,  and  on  the  fingers  of  his  right 
hand  he  fixed  a  wagnuk,  a  treacherous  weapon, 
well-known  to  the  Mahrattas.  Thus  accoutred, 
he  slowly  descended  from  the  fort.  The  Khan 
had  arrived  at  the  place  of  meeting  before  him, 
and  was  expressing  his  impatience  at  the  delay, 
when  Sevaji  was  seen  advancing,  apparently 
unarmed,  and,  like  the  Khan,  attended  by  only 
one  armed  follower.  Sevaji,  in  view  of  Afzool 
Khan,  frequently  stopped,  which  was  repre- 
sented to  Afzool  as  the  effect  of  alarm,  a  sup- 
position very  likely  to  be  admitted  from  his 
diminutive  size. 

"  Afzool  Khan  advanced  two  or  three  paces  to 
meet  Sevaji,  and  when  they  were  introduced,  the 
treacheous  Mahratta,  while  they  were  perform- 
ing the  customary  embrace,  struck  the  wagnuk 
into  the  bowels  of  Afzool^Khan,  who,  quickly 
disengaging  himself,  clapped  his  hand  on  his 
sword,  exclaiming  '  Treachery  and  murder ;' 
but  Sevaji  instantly  followed  up  the  assault  with 
his  dagger.     The  Khan  had  drawn  his  sword, 

THE  WAGNUK.  131 

and  made  a  cut  at  Sevaji,  but  the  concealed 
armour  was  proof  against  the  blow.  .  .  A  gene- 
ral scuffle  ensued,  the  bearers  had  lifted  the 
wounded  Khan  into  his  palanquin,  when  some 
followers  of  Sevaji's  came  up,  cut  off  the  head  of 
the  dying  man,  and  carried  it  to  Pertabgurh." 

The  wagnuk,  or  tiger's  claw,  is  a  small  in- 
strument of  steel,  made  to  fit  on  the  four 
fingers.  It  has  three  crooked  blades,  which  are 
easily  concealed  in  a  half-closed  hand. 

Along  with  the  other  relics  were  produced 
two  of  these  weapons,  one  of  which  was  fur- 
nished with  four  claws,  while  the  other  had  but 
three.  Before  leaving  the  palace,  I  was  allowed 
to  make  a  hasty  sketch  of  these  terrible  instru- 
ments. The  story,  with  which  they  are  con- 
nected, has  been  gathered  into  the  folk  lore  of 
the  Mahratta  people,  is  chanted  at  many  a  feast, 
and  taught  to  little  children  as  soon  as  they 
can  lisp.  The  use  of  the  wagnuk  in  warfare  has 
long  since  passed  away,  but  it  still  figures  in  the 
amusements  of  some  of  the  princes  of  the  day. 

Monsieur  Roussellet,  who  visited  the  coast  of 
Baroda  in  1864  (during  the  reign  of  the  lately 
deceased  Gaekwar's  brother,  and  who  has 
since  published  a  magnificently  illuminated 
volume  of  Indian  travel),  became  still  more 
famous     after     he     wras     invited    to     attend 



at  an  entertainment  called  the  Naki-ka- 
kausti,  the  combat  with  claws.  The  com- 
batants, entirely  nude,  and  adorned  with 
crowns  and  garlands,  tore  one  another  with 
claws  of  horn ;  but  "  formerly,"  we  are  as- 
sured by  the  French  gentleman,  iC  the  claws 
were  made  of  steel,  when  the  death  of  one  of 
the  combatants  was  unavoidable."  The  steel 
claws,  however,  have  been  suppressed,  and 
those  of  horn,  which  have  replaced  them,  are 
fitted  into  a  kind  of  handle,  which  is  fastened 
to  the  closed  fist  of  the  right  hand  by  means  of 
thongs.  The  combatants,  intoxicated  with 
bang,  rushed  upon  one  another  in  a  state  of 
fury  outstripping  all  bounds,  and  with  such 
force  that  their  necks  and  bodies  were  soon 
covered  with  blood. 

The  Gaekwar  was  accustomed  to  stare  at 
this  deadly  struggle  in  a  condition  of  such  wild 
excitement  that  he  could  scarcely  restrain  him- 
self from  imitatiug  the  movements  of  the  com- 
batants. The  unfortunate  one  whose  destiny  it 
was  to  bite  the  dust,  was  borne  away,  some- 
times in  a  dying  state,  while  the  conqueror, 
with  the  skin  of  his  forehead  hanging  down 
in  shreds,  would  prostrate  himself  before  the 
Gaekwar,  to  receive  from  him  a  necklace  of 
pearls,  and  a  richly  embroidered  dress. 


Instead  of  returning  through  the  town,  we 
struck  off  into  a  quiet  country  road,  passing 
close  to  a  low  stone  building,  which  reminded 
me  of  one  of  our  Kentish  martello  towers.  It 
was  the  Parsee  "  Tower  of  Silence  " — one  of 
those  abodes  of  the  dead  which  no  one,  with 
the  exception  of  the  guardian,  is  allowed  to 
enter,  unless  it  happen  to  be  empty.  The 
reply,  however,  of  a  Parsee,  when  questioned 
upon  the  subject,  throws  some  light  upon  their 
mode  of  proceeding : 

"  Our  Prophet  Zoroaster,"  he  said,  "  who 
lived  six  thousand  years  ago,  taught  us  to 
regard  the  elements  as  symbols  of  the  Deity. 
Earth,  fire,  water,"  he  said,  "  ought  never,  under 
any  circumstances,  to  be  defiled  by  contact  with 
putrefying  flesh.  Naked,"  he  added,  "  we  came 
into  the  world,  and  naked  we  ought  to  leave  it. 
But  the  decaying  particles  of  our  bodies  should 
be  dissipated  as  rapidly  as  possible,  and  in  such 
a  way  that  neither  Mother  Earth  nor  the  beings 
she  supports  should  be  contaminated  in  the 
slightest  degree.  In  fact,  our  prophet  was  the 
greatest  of  health  officers,  and  following  his 
sanitary  laws  we  build  our  towers  on  the  tops  of 
the  hills,  above  all  human  habitations.  We 
spare  no  expense  in  constructing  them  of  the 
hardest  materials;  and  we  expose  our  putres- 

134      MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

cent  bodies  in  open  stone  receptacles,  resting  on 
fourteen  feet  of  solid  granite,  not  necessarily  to 
be  consumed  by  vultures,  but  to  be  dissipated 
in  the  speediest  possible  manner,  without  the 
possibility  of  polluting  the  earth  or  contaminat- 
ing a  single  living  being  dwelling  thereon.  God 
indeed  sends  the  vultures,  and,  as  a  matter  of 
fact,  these  birds  do  their  work  much  more  ex- 
peditiously than  millions  of  insects  would  do  if 
our  bodies  were  committed  to  the  ground.  In 
a  sanitary  point  of  view  nothing  can  be  more 
perfect  than  our  plan.  Even  the  rain  water 
which  washes  our  skeletons  is  conducted  by 
channels  into  purifying  charcoal.  Here  in  these 
fine  towers  rest  the  bones  of  all  the  Parsees  that 
have  lived  in  Bombay  for  the  last  two  hundred 
years.  We  form  a  united  body  in  life,  and  we 
are  united  in  death." 

It  is  a  pity  that  the  great  law-giver  did  not 
promulgate  a  few  more  sanitary  rules,  for  the 
Parsees  are  in  some  respects  the  dirtiest  people 
in  Bombay.  Without  exception  they  throw 
every  sort  of  refuse  into  the  street  before 
their  dwellings.  It  is  an  extraordinary  fact 
mentioned,  but  not  explained,  by  Mr.  Moor, 
that  "  an  expiring  Parsee  requires  the  pre- 
sence of  a  dog  in  furtherance  of  his  departing 

MAHULI.  135 

The  bodies  are  placed  upon  iron  gratings, 
which  slope  downwards,  so  that  eventually  the 
remains  fall  into  a  pipe,  and  from  thence  into  a 
pit  beneath.  Some  people  asserted  that  an 
upper  grating  protects  the  body  from  the  as- 
saults of  birds,  but  such  is  clearly  not  the  case. 
In  the  official  report  of  the  Bombay  health  offi- 
cers, it  is  stated  that  it  is  disgusting  to  see  the 
vultures  swooping  upon  their  prey,  and  carry- 
ing away  pieces  of  flesh  and  bones.  The  vul- 
ture which  haunts  these  spots  is  of  a  peculiar 
species,  and  it  is  said  that  the  early  Parsees 
actually  imported  them  on  account  of  the 
rapidity  with  which  they  accomplished  their 
horrid  task. 

On  the  following  day  we  had  a  treat,  as  we 
went  to  Mahuli,  a  celebrated  spot  of  great  beauty, 
where  the  rivers  Krishna  and  the  Yena  unite. 
In  India  the  junction  of  two  rivers  is  always  holy, 
and  in  this  instance  it  is  particularly  so,  for  the 
Krishna  is  a  very  sacred  stream — the  most 
considerable  of  the  five  declared  by  the  Brah- 
mans  to  be  sacred,  which  flow  from  the  site  of 
the  temple  of  Maha  Deo,  in  the  Mahaba- 
leshwar  hills,  the  fruitful  birthplace  of  many 
rivers.  The  Lady  Krishna,  as  she  is  called — 
for  the  imaginative  Hindoo,  with  his  love  of 
symbolising,  considers  all  rivers  to  be  male  or 

136      MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

female — is  regarded  as  the  Deity  Krishna,  in  the 
female  form,  and  as  such  is  worshipped  during 
a  course  of  eight  hundred  miles,  finally  emptying 
herself  by  herself  into  the  Bay  of  Bengal.  The 
basin  of  the  Krishna  is  computed  to  be  94,500 
square  miles. 

Our  road  lay  under  a  shady  avenue  of  pee- 
pul-trees.  Religion  in  this  country  is  so  intimately 
bound  up  with  the  domestic  habits  of  this  peo- 
ple, that  they  worship  not  only  Nature,  in  trees, 
flowers,  and  streams,  but  also  the  most  ordinary 
objects.  If  no  idol  is  at  hand,  the  Hindoo  will 
make  a  god  of  his  earthen  pitcher,  which  the 
Englishman  looks  upon  merely  as  a  useful  ves- 
sel, while  his  Eastern  brother  regards  it  as  the 
source  from  which  he  draws  the  spring  of  life, 
the  type  of  his  creator. 

An  endless  throng  of  people  flowed  along  in 
their  gala  dresses,  so  rich  and  various  that  I 
could  scarcely  believe  that  the  scene  which 
danced  before  my  eyes  was  real.  It  was  the 
6th  of  March,  a  day  on  which,  in  this  year, 
occurred  a  great  festival  in  honour  of  Shiva, 
for  these  annual  commemorations  vary  a  little 
in  time,  as  they  depend  upon  the  state  of  the 
moon.  The  story  runs  that  on  a  certain  night 
a  mighty  hunter  took  shelter  in  a  bel-tree  (a 
species  of  fig).     To  amuse  himself  he  plucked 


branches  and  threw  them  by  chance  down  upon 
a  Linga  stone,  which  so  gratified  Shiva  that  he 
immediately  carried  the  hunter  up  to  Kailas,  his 
celestial  abode. 

The  ceremonies  had  commenced  on  the  pre- 
vious night.  The  devotees  fast  during  twenty- 
four  hours,  and  pray  in  the  temples  with  a 
Brahman,  who  pours  water  on  the  Lingham,the 
emblem  of  Shiva,  which  he  also  decorates  with 
flowers.  He  then  reads  over  the  thousand 
names  of  the  god,  and  at  each  name  the  vota- 
ries cast  bel  leaves  upon  the  Lingham.  The 
men  were  chiefly  in  white,  and  different  castes 
wore  turbans  of  different  dimensions  and  mate- 
rial, some  of  them  indeed  being  enormous.  It 
requires  considerable  skill  to  coil  this  kind  of 
head-dress  into  the  proper  shape.  The  rich 
Hindoo  had  stripes  of  silver  or  gold  woven 
into  his  fine  muslin.  Those  amongst  the 
crowd  who  were  worshippers  of  Shiva — and 
they  greatly  preponderated — had  their  peculiar 
sectarial  mark — the  terrible  eye  and  the  per- 
pendicular lines  painted  in  white  upon  their 

*  The  Hindoo  religion  is  split  into  two  sects  (which  are 
again  subdivided),  the  worshippers  of  Shiva,  and  the  wor- 
shippers of  Vishnu,  who  differ  greatly  from  one  another. 
It  is  supposed  that  the  former  is  the  most  ancient ;  and 
many  believe  it  to  be  mixed  up  with  the  superstitions  of 
the  conquered  aboriginal  tribes. 

138       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

Many  of  the  women  were  good-looking,  or 
would  have  been  so,  had  they   not  been  dis- 
figured by  that  most  grotesque  of  ornaments — 
the  nose-ring.     They  had  smooth,  dark,  but  not 
black  skins,  shiny  with  cocoa-nut  oil,  fine  eyes, 
broad,  but  not  ugly  features,,  and  a  wealth  of 
jetty  hair,  well   greased,  and  ornamented  with 
coronets  of  yellow  flowers.     They  wore  vests, 
sometimes  of  crimson,  but  so  short  as  scarcely 
to  cover   the   bust,    and    to   leave  the   finely- 
rounded  arm  bare  ;   their  only  other  garment 
being  the  national  savi,  a   piece  of  cotton,  a 
yard  and  a  half  in  width,  and  eight  or  nine  in 
length,     Where  this  covering  begins  or  ends  I 
know   not,  it  is  so  artfully  wound  round  the 
waist,  and  passed  between  the  legs,  hips,  and 
shoulders,  sometimes  also  forming  a  scarf  for  the 
head.     The  intense  though  dusky  hues  of  these 
savis,  which   are    bordered  with    some   colour 
affording  the  utmost  contrast,  are  well  calcu- 
lated to  set  the  native  women  off  to  advantage. 
If  she  is  tall  and  shapely,  the  dress  is  decidedly 
elegant ;  but  woe  be  to  her  if  she  is  fat,  which, 
however,  is  fortunately  seldom  the  case.    When 
this  costume  is  seen  for  the  first  time,  the  ex- 
posure of  the  leg  above  the  calf,  and  part  of  the 
side,  has  a  curious  effect ;  but,  as  I  have  before 
remarked,  the  dark  skin  is  in  itself  a  covering. 


The  Mahoniedan  women,  of  whom  only  the  very- 
poor  appear  upon  the  street,  also  wear  the 
savi,  but  in  such  a  manner  as  to  reach  the 
ankle.  I  was  surprised  to  see  even  these  un- 
veiled women,  as  the  faces  of  the  same  class  in 
Turkey  or  Algeria  would  have  been  concealed. 
Up  to  a  certain  standing  the  Hindoo  female  has 
all  the  liberty  of  a  European,  but  that  point 
passed,  she  is  more  carefully  secluded  in  the 
Zenana  than  the  Turkish  woman  in  the  Harem. 
The  people  of  Western  India  are  noted  for 
their  love  of  gold  and  silver  ornaments,  pos- 
sessing nose-rings,  and  toe-rings,  and  ear-rings 
in  abundance,  sometimes  half-a-dozen  of  the 
latter  being  stuck  round  the  rim  of  each  ear. 
Then  they  have  necklaces,  armlets,  bracelets, 
and  anklets,  and  sometimes  handsome  silver 
bands  round  the  waist.  Their  workmanship  is 
good,  and  the  metal  pure,  but  there  is  no  variety 
in  the  designs,  some  of  which,  however,  are 
curious.  I  never  wearied  of  looking  at  the 
mothers,  with  their  infants  astride  upon  the 
hip,  on  which  the  little  black  things,  all  eyes, 
ride  in  the  utmost  security,  in  an  attitude 
equally  picturesque  and  graceful.  The  older 
children  ran  along  innocent  of  clothes,  which 
they  do  not  wear  until  they  are  six  or  seven 
years  of  age,  but  they  also  were  bedizened  with 


On  this  occasion  there  was  a  fair  at  Miihuli, 
and  all  those  who  were  returning  from  it  were 
bringing  home  their  purchases.  The  women 
and  girls  balanced  upon  their  heads  a  brass 
vessel,  called  a  loto,  which  has  bulging  sides, 
a  narrow  neck,  and  a  very  broad  rim.  It  is 
not  only  used  by  the  Indian  women  for  holding 
water,  but  also  as  a  market  basket.  They  must 
be  rather  expensive  at  first,  but  they  are  handed 
clown  in  families,  and  in  the  long  run  cost  less 
than  earthenware  vessels  would,  considering 
the  fragility  of  pottery.  It  was  strange  to  see 
the  children  hugging  brightly-painted  idols  to 
their  bosoms  instead  of  dolls,  while  many  car- 
ried little  shrines  and  altars  instead  of  baby 
houses.  Nor  were  they  without  their  miniature 
lotos,  which  would  very  likely  serve  for  the 
smoking  incense  with  which  they  would  fumi- 
gate their  toy-god.  The  ever-shifting  scene 
was  bewildering.  Had  I  possessed  as  many 
eyes  as  Indra,  I  could  have  employed  them  all. 

The  Ascetics,  or  Saints,  with  their  wildly- 
rolling  eyes,  long  tangled  locks,  and  every  bone 
in  their  wretched  bodies  visible,  were  horrible 
objects.  It  was  formerly  their  pleasure  to  ap- 
pear entirely  naked,  but  government  obliges 
them  now  to  put  on  some  clothing,  which  is 
probably  regarded  as  a  penance.     Even  these 


creatures   were   less   objectionable   than   those 
whose  sleek,  well-nourished  bodies  were  streak- 
ed with  lime,  or  grey  with  funeral  ashes,  which 
they  stick  on  with  the  juice  of  the  banyan-tree. 
I  felt  quite  angry  at  seeing  beautiful  garlands 
of  fresh  flowers  round  the  bull  necks  of  these 
degraded  beings,  and  sincerely  did  I  pity  the 
emaciated  horses  which  some  of  them  bestrode. 
As  a  class,  these  men  are  horribly  vicious,  and 
are  in  possession  of  large  sums  of  money,  which 
they  often  bury,  thus  explaining  how  it  is  that 
treasure   is   so   often  found  concealed   in   this 
country.     Some  fine  elephants,  with  trappings 
of  scarlet  and  gold,  came  along  with  stately 
step,  carrying   Hindoos,  who  were   the   petty 
chiefs  of  the  neighbourhood,  and  possibly  their 
wives,   in   the   latticed   howdahs,    which   were 
carefully  closed.     The  well-to-do  Bunneah  class 
rode  their  tattoos  with  an  air  of  great  import- 
ance, each  man  attended  by  a  servant  on  each 
side,  and  an  umbrella-bearer  in  the   rear.     If 
very  rich,  the  beast  on  which  he  rode  would 
surely  be  spotted  or  piebald,  animals  so  marked 
being  very  dear  to  the  native  heart. 

On  reaching  our  destination,  we  paused  to 
take  breath  under  a  noble  banyan-tree,  but  no 
repose  of  mind  was  to  be  obtained  under  its 
shade.     It  was   a   self-contained    little    world. 

142       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

Suspended  from  its  branches  were  hundreds  of 
black  objects,  exactly  resembling  large  shrivelled 
up  kid  gloves — flying  foxes,  huge  bats,  who 
had  hooked  themselves  up  to  rest  after  a  night 
of  thieving  and  shrieking ;  and  there  were 
swarms  of  white-faced  monkeys,  whose  antics 
were  most  amusing.  Throughout  India  the 
Sattara  monkeys  are  renowned  for  their  size 
and  wisdom.  They  flew  from  branch  to  branch, 
seemingly  regardless  of  the  little  ones,  who 
clung  round  their  necks.  All  at  once  they 
caught  sight  of  us,  and  recognising  us  to  be 
strangers,  began  to  grin,  and  chatter,  and  hiss. 
When  their  anger  was  a  little  expended,  they 
clasped  their  arms  round  their  babies,  and 
swinging  themselves  from  bough  to  bough, 
sought  for  a  place  of  greater  safety  at  the  top 
of  the  tree.  These  monkeys,  being  sacred  ani- 
mals, and  under  the  protection  of  the  Brahmans, 
are  never  molested.  I  could  have  watched 
them  for  hours  instead  of  minutes,  their  move- 
ments were  so  animated  and  amusing, 

Near  the  tree,  raised  on  a  high  platform, 
stood  a  pile  of  buildings,  which  I  in  my  ignor- 
ance took  to  be  a  cluster  of  temples ;  but  the 
apparently  separate  parts,  each  with  its  stepped 
roof,  formed  one  harmonious  whole.  It  was  a 
Jaina  temple,  with  the  peculiar  architecture  of 


which  I  afterwards  became  better  acquainted. 
Long  bands  of  white  woollen  were  stretched 
from  one  part  to  another.  We  were  allowed 
to  stand  and  look  into  the  open  hall,  which  was 
supported  by  curiously- carved  pillars.  We  saw 
that  it  contained  a  throne,  on  which  squatted  a 
Buddha-like  figure,  with  folded  legs.  It  was 
surrounded  by  lights,  wreathed  with  flowers ; 
the  air  was  heavy  with  incense,  and  the  divinity 
looked  down  with  a  hideous  leer  upon  the  de- 
votees who  were  performing  their  puji  (wor- 
ship), bowing  their  heads  to  the  earth,  and 
then,  standing  upright,  raising  the  closed  palms 
of  their  hands  above  their  heads. 

The  scene  from  the  high  bank  above  the  river 
was  beautiful  as  well  as  striking.  The  sharp 
spit  of  land  which  seemed  to  oppose  the  union 
of  the  Lady  Krishna  with  the  Yena  was  the 
holiest  of  ground.  Upon  it  was  erected  a  large 
open  shrine,  with  a  Lingham  in  the  centre  (more 
than  one  sect  appeared  to  celebrate  this  festi- 
val). It  was  adorned  with  ropes  of  flowers,  and 
heaps  of  blossoms  brought  by  the  votaries  were 
piled  around  it.  They  also  performed  their 
puji,  and  threw  small  coins  into  the  dishes  held 
by  the  officiating  priests.  On  each  side  of  the 
broad  clear  stream  formed  by  the  united  rivers 
were  groups  of  temples.     One  sacred  building 


which  stood  alone  is  said  to  have  been  founded 
in  the  sixteenth  century  by  a  banker  at  Sattara, 
a  lucky  man,  who  chanced  to  discover  a  large 
cavity  filled  with  treasure.  In  three  places  fine 
broad  flights  of  steps,  like  our  mountain  friends, 
called  ghats,  and  for  the  same  reason,  descended 
to  the  water.  In  some  parts  of  India  these 
ghats  are  built  with  great  architectural  mag- 
nificence, and  even  here  the  monotony  of  the 
wide  stairs  was  broken  by  handsome  balustrades. 
A  little  above  the  level  of  the  water  was  an 
irregular  piece  of  ground,  the  burning  ghat,  or 
place  of  cremation,  dotted  over  with  pyramidal 
tombs,  memorials  of  the  rich  whose  bones  had 
been  collected  upon  the  spot,  and  thrown  into 
the  sacred  waters  beneath  ;  and,  awful  thought, 
on  this  spot  hundreds  of  women  had  suffered 
suttee.  Half  imbedded  in  the  sand  lay  the 
sculptured  form  of  some  colossal  animal,  proba- 
bly a  bull,  but  worn  past  all  knowledge  by 
hundreds  of  monsoons. 

The  previous  year  the  Rani  of  Sattara,  scarcely 
a   middle-aged  woman,  had  succumbed  to  her 

love  for  cherry-brandy,  and  Gr was  present 

at  her  funeral  procession  and  cremation,  which 
occurred  here  by  torch-light.  The  dead  woman 
was  seated  in  an  open  palanquin,  and  the  lurid 
glare  played  upon  her  face,  and  lit  up  the  jewels 


with  which  the  corpse  was  magnificently  adorn- 
ed. In  front  walked  her  adopted  son,  clad  in 
yellow  garments.  The  funeral  pyre  consisted 
of  sandal  and  other  sweet-smelling  woods, 
with  costly  gums  and  precious  essences,  the 
whole  saturated  with  fine  oil.  Her  costly 
robes  and  precious  ornaments  were  remov- 
ed, she  was  gently  laid  upon  the  pyramid, 
and  her  son,  with  averted  head,  fired  the  com- 
bustible mass,  from  which  soon  shot  forth  flames 
that  concealed  the  corpse  from  the  gaze  of 
the  bystanders.  The  pyre  was  watched  for 
many  hours,  after  which  the  Brahmans  collected 
the  bones  into  a  silver  dish,  and,  with  prayers, 
they  were  committed  to  the  holy  keeping  of  the 
sacred  Krishna. 

By  the  side  of  the  road  there  stood,  on  wheels, 
a  wooden  erection  of  considerable  dimensions. 
It  rose  in  shelves,  which  were  supported  by 
slender,  carved  pillars.  We  were  not  invited  to 
inspect  the  gaudy  paintings  with  which  it  was 
covered,  for  it  was  a  car  of  Juggernath,  and  the 
designs  depicted  on  such  vehicles  are  often 
exceedingly  impure.  Interesting  as  were  the 
scenes  around,  we  were  not  sorry  to  leave  them 
behind.  The  sun  was  hot,  the  colours  and 
movements  of  the  ever-shifting  crowd  dazzled 
the  eyes,  and  the  incessant  beating  of  the  cy- 

VOL.  I  L 


lindrical  drum,  the  clang  of  the  cymbals,  and  the 
squeaks  and  groans  of  some  instrument  sound- 
ing like  a  bagpipe,  made  us  feel  as  if  some 
accompanyist  were  beating  time  upon  our  heads. 
The  musicians  who  play  upon  these  instruments 
are  a  race  apart,  supposed  to  be  descended  from 
some  of  the  aboriginal  tribes.  They  have  played 
their  part  in  history,  and  sometimes  these  bands 
have  had  lands  and  forests  allotted  to  them, 
which  has  brought  about  local  wars.  They 
were  ill-favoured  black  men,  with  features  rather 
of  the  Negro  than  the  Hindoo  type. 

As  we  were  returning  home,  G pointed 

out  a  large  pile  of  rough  brickwork,  an  unfin- 
ished temple,  on  which  a  fabulous  sum  of  money 
had  been  spent  by  the  late  Rani.  It  was  erect- 
ed to  the  memory  of  a  favourite  white  elephant, 
drowned  in  fording  the  Krishna  during  the 
rains.  White  elephants  are  highly  prized  in 
India,  not  on  account  of  anything  beautiful  in 
their  appearance,  but  simply  because  they  are 
rare.  The  absence  of  the  colouring  matter  in 
the  skin  and  eye  produces  this  albino  species. 
A  spurious  sort  of  white  elephant  is  produced 
by  the  constant  grooming  of  the  skin  with 
pumice  stone.* 

*  The  Burmese  believe  that  such  animals  are  transmigra- 
ting Buddhas,  and  revere  them  accordingly.     An  amusing 


The  people  of  Sattara  are  a  primitive  race, 
and  have  retained  more  of  the  manners  and  cus- 
toms of  their  ancestors  than  the  inhabitants  of 
any  other  part  of  the  Indian  peninsula.  They 
have  a  rich  folk-lore  of  old  border  songs  and 
stories,  which  they  chant  and  sing  in  minor 
keys  at  their  festivals,  as  they  did  in  the  war- 
like times  which  have  passed  away.  Although 
the  task  would  not  be  without  difficulty,  it  is  a 
pity  that  no  attempt  is  made  to  collect  these 
relics  of  ancient  poetry.  It  could,  however, 
only  be  done  by  some  one  not  only  conversant 
with  the  old  Mahratta  language,  but  also  popu- 
lar enough  with  the  people  to  gain  their  con- 
account  of  one  of  these  sacred  animals  is  given  by  Mr. 
Frank  Vincent,  in  his  amusing  book,  "  The  Land  of  the 
White  Elephant."  "One  of  the  proudest  titles,"  he  says, 
"  of  the  King  of  Ava  is,  '  Lord  of  the  White  Elephant.' 
The  Mandalay  animal  I  found  to  be  a  male  of  medium  size, 
with  white  eyes,  and  a  forehead  and  ears  spotted  white, 
appearing  as  if  they  had  been  rubbed  with  pumice  stone  or 
sand-paper,  but  the  remainder  of  the  body  was  as  black  as 
coal.  He  was  a  vicious  brute,  chained  by  the  fore-legs 
in  the  centre  of  a  shed,  and  surrounded  by  the  adjuncts  of 
royalty,  gold  and  white  cloth  umbrellas,  an  embroidered 
canopy,  and  some  bundles  of  spears  in  the  corner  of  the 
room.  The  attendants  told  me  that  a  young  one,  cap- 
tured in  the  most  eastern  part  of  British  Burmah,  near 
Taunghoo,  had  recently  died,  after  a  short  residence  in  the 
capital,  and  that  the  king  had  been  out  of  sorts  ever  since. 
The  animal  was  suckled  by  twelve  women. 



fidence.  The  elements  of  secretiveness  and 
suspicion,  which  appear  to  be  inherent  in  the 
Hindoo  character,  have  been  cultivated  for  ages 
by  these  mountaineers,  who  have  ever  opposed 
force  by  cunning.  Their  lives  have  always 
depended  upon  their  vigilance,  and  to  this  day 
no  stranger,  should  he  ask  the  most  trivial 
question,  would  receive  a  simple,  straightfor- 
ward, truthful  answer. 



The  Seven-Starred  Fort — A  Moment  of  Peril — Extensive 
Cemetery — Hindoo  Superstition — Fine  Idgar — Arrival 
at  Kolhopur — The  Rajah — Government  School — Death 
of  a  Young  Rajah  at  Florence — The  Gates  of  Kolhopur 
— The  Rajah's  Palace — An  Amusing  Carriage-load — 
An  Irate  Colonel — Accident  to  our  Carriage — Nipani — 
Cruelty  of  the  Desay — Soutguttee — Arrival  at  our 
Indian  Home. 

SHORTLY  after  leaving  Sattara,  we  had  a 
charming  view  of  the  Seven-Starred  Fort, 
and  of  the  fortifications  which  crown  some  of 
the  adjacent  hills.     The  country  was  wild  and 
pretty,    and,   according   to    M.,    delightful    for 
riding.     Not  a  group  of  the  many  trees  which 
dotted  the   green  downs,  not   a  swelling  hill 
which  gave  variety  to  the  landscape,  with  which 
she  was  unacquainted.     Our  drive  would  have 
been  delightful,  had  it  not  been  for  the  careless- 
ness of  our  driver,  who  many  a  time  drove  us 
dangerously  near  the  edge  of  the  road,  from 
whence  there  was  a  deep  descent.     On  one  oc- 
casion we  felt  sure  that  an  awkward  upset  was 

150       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

inevitable.     The  front  wheel  was  fairly  over  the 
brink,  and  we  had  just  time  to  jump  out,  when, 
being  lightened  of  our  weight,  the  struggling 
horses  were  able  to  pull  the  carriage  across  the 
road.      The    other    carriage    not    coming    up 
quickly,  we  were  anxious  as  to  its  safety  ;  but 
our  anxiety  was  soon  relieved  by  its  appear- 
ance.    Then  we  had  to  ford  an  awkward  river, 
the  bridge   over  which  had  been  swept  away 
during  the   last  monsoon.     The  night  was  as 
dark   as  pitch,   but  a   hundred   torches   threw 
their  fitful   light   upon  the  dangerous  stream, 
where  numbers  of  men  were  at  work  upon  a 
new  bridge,  cheering  their  labours  by  singing 
in   chorus.     They  were  a  wild  set    of  people. 
We  were  thankful  when  we  got  safely  across, 
and  were  again  on  our  way.     Camp  fires  blazed 
at  intervals  in   sheltered  spots  near  the  road. 
Great  waggons  were  drawn  up  in  semi-circles, 
and  peaceful  bullocks  jingled  their  bells  as  they 
munched  their  hay,  whilst  their  drovers  stretched 
themselves  near  the  flames,  baking  rough  cakes, 
or  watching  the  grain  simmering  for  their  even- 
ing  meal.     These  tranquil  scenes,  these  quiet 
peeps  into  native  life,  were  very  pleasant. 

Before  reaching  Koohad,  which  we  did  not 
do  until  the  small  hours,  we  were  disturbed  by 
the   prospect   of   crossing   another  river ;   but 


happily  we  had  no  trouble  this  time,  as  it  was 
spanned  by  a  magnificent  bridge  of  many 
arches.  The  morning's  light  shone  upon  a 
plain  covered  with  tombs.  Fine  domes  arose  at  a 
little  distance,  and  in  their  midst  was  a  building, 
which  looked  like  a  fortification.  This  was 
delightful,  for,  having  a  clear  two  hours  before 

me,  I  obtained  leave  from  G ,  and  set  off 

along  with  Bustle  upon  an  exploring  expedi- 
tion. I  found  myself  in  a  vast  cemetery,  in 
which  there  were  acres  and  acres  of  crumbling 
monuments.  In  one  spot  I  thought  that  I 
recognized  the  Hebrew  character  upon  the 
sloping  stones  peculiar  to  Jewish  places  of 
interment.  Further  on  a  large  raised  platform, 
enclosed  by  a  breast-high  wall,  arrested  my 
attention.  I  climbed  a  handsome  flight  of  steps, 
which  led  to  the  open  entrance.  The  tombs 
within  were  large,  but  no  inscription,  no  carv- 
ing, told  their  tale.  As  they  rose  in  steps, 
however,  I  took  them  to  be  Hindoo  memorials. 
These  special  burial-grounds  were  but  spots 
compared  with  the  vast  extent  of  ground,  con- 
taining thousands  of  Mahomedan  graves,  which 
spread  around,  a  very  city  of  the  dead.  These 
graves  bore  no  resemblance  to  the  turbaned 
monuments  of  the  Turkish  Moslem.  Still  less 
was  their  resemblance  to  the  few  rough  stones, 

152       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

misplaced  by  the  jackals,  with  the  bit  of  splint- 
ered rock  at  the  head,  which  marks  the  grave 
of  the  Arab.  Here,  over  the  rich  man's  dust, 
rose  the  patterned  dome  and  the  fretted 
minaret,  one  of  which  in  particular  struck  me 
as  being  exceedingly  beautiful.  It  consisted  of 
four  lofty  pointed  arches  forming  a  square,  and 
set  upon  an  estrade,  and  it  was  crowned  by 
a  low  dome,  half  hidden  by  tufts  of  the  Indian 
fig  and  the  trembling  mimosa.  There  were 
three  monuments  in  the  interior — plain  and 
rude  structures.  It  is  strange  to  see  so  much 
richness  of  architecture  lavished  upon  these 
dwellings  of  the  dead,  when  their  immediate 
coverings  are  often  appallingly  barbarous,  the 
white  plaster  above  being  often  moulded  into  a 
ghostly  resemblance  of  the  form  beneath.  This 
cemetery  was  evidently  the  occasional  resort  of 
living  Hindoos,  for  here  and  there,  marked  by 
stones,  were  circles,  in  the  centre  of  which  rude 
shrines,  formed  of  slanting  slabs,  sheltered  a 
shapeless  red-daubed  stone,  before  which  the 
poor  idolater  had  made  his  meal  of  grain  or 
cocoa-nut,  after  offering  the  first  portion  to  his 
god.  The  nearer  I  got  to  the  building,  which 
I  was  determined  to  reach,,  the  more  was  I 
puzzled  by  its  appearance. 

As  I  threaded  my  way  round   groves,  and 


avoided  great  bushes  of  prickly  pear  and 
strange  thorny  shrubs,  two  beautiful  white 
doves  kept  flitting  across  my  path.  The  na- 
tives of  India,  both  Mussulman  and  Hindoo, 
believe  that  the  souls  of  the  recent  dead  thus 
dog  the  footsteps  of  the  living,  and  take  due 
cognizance  of  human  affairs.  That  such  a 
superstition  exists  in  China  we  know  from  the 
pictured  story  upon  the  Wedgwood  plate  ;  and 
the  Russians  affirm  that  for  three  weeks  the 
soul  of  a  deceased  relation  hovers  about  the 
house,  in  order  to  satisfy  himself  that  he  is 
sufficiently  mourned  by  those  from  whom  he 
is  now  separated  by  an  impassable  gulf.  A  very 
unpleasant  ideaj  A  white  vulture  next  came 
swooping  from  above,  perhaps  with  the  idea 
that  Bustle  would  make  a  delicate  rnorsel.  The 
doggie,  being  intent  upon  his  own  affairs,  did 
not  seem  to  perceive  the  bird  of  prey.  He 
started  a  fine  hare,  pursued  it  until  I  thought 
that  he  would  be  lost,  and  when  puss  suddenly 
disappeared  into  a  hole,  he  stood  transfixed, 
with  a  look  of  comical  surprise. 

At  last  I  reached  the  object  of  my  curiosity, 
but  was  still  unable  to  form  any  conjecture  as 
to  its  probable  use.  The  building  consisted  of 
a  lofty  brick  wall,  with  a  funnel-shaped  tower 
at  each  end.     I  reckoned  its  length  to  be  about 

154       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

two  hundred  feet,  and  it  was  two  or  three  feet 
thick,  while  there  was  a  narrow  path  along  the 
top.  Passing  through  a  small  aperture  right  in 
the  centre  of  the  wall,  I  faced  round,  and  found 
myself  before  a  highly  ornamental  screen.  The 
only  projection  was  in  the  centre,  where  an  im- 
posing flight  of  stone  steps  led  up  to  a  plat- 
form, at  the  back  of  which,  let  into  the  wall, 
was  a  fine-pointed  arch  of  stone,  a  kind  of  niche, 
which  was  walled  up  to  a  certain  height,  in 
order  to  form  a  shelf  or  seat.  Eight  high- 
pointed  stone  arches,  four  on  each  side  of  the 
steps  which  were  formed  in  the  wall,  orna- 
mented the  base  of  the  building,  and  a  row  of 
miniature  arches,  connected  together  above 
them,  ran  the  whole  length  of  the  screen.  The 
edifice  was  beautifully  finished  by  patterned 
edging.  The  brickwork  was  worthy  of  the  best 
period  of  Rome,  and  the  pale  grey  stone  let 
into  the  time-subdued  red  wall  had  a  charming 
effect.  It  was  certainly  a  very  fine  piece  of  ar- 

I  afterwards  learned  that  this  building  was 
called  an  Idgar,  and  that  it  was  used  for  certain 
Mahomedan  services,  divided  into  smaller  and 

greater  Ids.     G told  me  that  insignificant 

erections  of  this  sort  were  common  in  India, 
but  that  he  had  never  met  with  so  fine  a  speci- 


men  as  this  which  I  described  to  him.  These 
Idgars  must,  I  think,  be  peculiar  to  the  East. 
I  had  never  met  with  anything  resembling  them 
either  in  Turkey  or  in  Northern  Africa.  The 
existence  here  of  one  of  peculiar  merit,  and  the 
vast  size  of  the  cemetery  in  which  it  stood,  were 
explained  when  I  came  to  know,  alas !  too  later 
what  an  important  part  Karhad  had  played  in 
the  early  Mahomedan  dynasty,  which  ended  in 
the  middle  of  the  twelfth  century.  My  atten- 
tion, indeed,  was  attracted  by  two  tall  towers 
which  rose  above  the  houses  of  the  town, 
scarcely  a  mile  away,  and  I  feel  a  blush  of 
shame  at  having  betrayed  my  ignorance  by- 
asking  if  they  belonged  to  some  sort  of  manu- 
factory. My  excuse  must  be  that  in  spite  of 
the  antiquity  of  these  towers,  which  had  existed 
for  at  least  eight  hundred  years,  they  did  in- 
deed bear  a  striking  resemblance  to  the  chim- 
neys of  a  cotton  mill. 

There  is  nothing  striking  in  the  scenery 
between  Karhad  and  Kolhopur,  but  the  country 
is  well  cultivated.  We  saw  many  villages  half 
hidden  in  foliage — the  huts,  indeed,  were 
scarcely  visible,  so  comfortably  were  they 
covered  by  their  steep-pitched  roofs.  There 
were  fine  trees  by  the  road  side,  principally 
mango   and   Indian   fig.     The    Government  is- 


very  strict  respecting  these  avenues,  which 
afford  so  delightful  a  shade  to  the  traveller. 
No  man,  even  on  his  own  ground,  may  cut 
timber  within  a  certain  distance  of  the  high- 

Our  progress  was  very  enjoyable  until  we 
came  to  a  good-sized  river,  which  had  to  be 
forded,  and  the  passage  of  which  was  accom- 
plished amidst  the  usual  tremors,  noise,  and 
confusion.  In  consequence  of  the  delay  we  did 
not  reach  our  destination  until  two  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  as  we  were  to  spend  two  days  at 
Kolhopur,  and  expected  visitors  who  were  sure 
to  come  early,  we  had  to  rise  betimes,  in  order 
to  get  one  of  our  two  rooms  ready  for  their  re- 
ception. The  weather  was  very  hot,  and  as 
soon  as  the  last  caller  had  departed,  we  were 
glad  to  rest  until  the  evening  breeze  sprang 
up.  We  then  set  off  to  see  the  sights  of  the 

Kolhopur  is  a  large  native  state,  which  is  at 
present  under  the  management  of  the  English, 
as  the  Rajah  is  quite  a  boy.  He  is  entitled  to 
a  salute  of  nineteen  guns,  the  status  of  a  native 
prince  being  indicated  by  the  number  of  guns 
in  his  salute,  ranging  from  nine  to  twenty-one. 
Kolhopur  boasts  of  possessing  in  its  government 
school  one  of  the  handsomest  modern  buildings 


to  be  found  in  all  India.  It  is  built  of  fine  grey- 
stone,  in  the  Saracenic  style,  and  fully  deserves 
its  high  reputation  for  architectural  beauty  as 
well  as  learning.  We  were  conducted  over  it 
by  two  grave-looldng  elderly  men,  said  to  be 
famous  scholars,  and  employed  in  the  establish- 
ment as  teachers  of  Sanskrit.  A  knot  of  pupils 
followed  in  our  wake — intelligent-looking  young 
men,  who  spoke  English  with  facility,  but  did 
not  always  understand  the  questions  put  to 
them.  They  were  handsome  boys,  probably 
Brahmans,  judging  from  their  pale  brown  com- 
plexions. Their  costume  was  of  spotless  white, 
and  they  bore  upon  their  foreheads  the  dreadful 
eye,  in  red  or  yellow,  placed  between  two  per- 
pendicular lines,  which  denoted  the  sect  to 
which  they  belonged. 

The  centre  of  the  building  is  occupied  by  a 
spacious  lecture-hall,  with  an  open  roof  of  teak 
wood  ;  a  balustraded  gallery,  splendidly  carved 
in  arabesques,  runs  round  the  interior.  From 
this  gallery  sculptured  doors  of  equal  beauty 
open  upon  various  apartments.  At  the  end 
of  the  hall  there  stood  a  marble  bust  of  the  late 
Kajah,  who  died  in  Florence  at  the  early  age 
of  twenty-three.  Many  people  may  remember 
the  interesting  accounts  which  appeared  in  the 
English  papers  of  the  period  respecting  the 

158       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

curious  ceremonies  which  accompanied  the 
erection  of  the  costly  funeral  pyre  by  the  banks 
of  the  Arno,  on  which  the  rite  of  cremation  was 
performed.  This  prince  was  a  highly  enlight- 
ened man,  and  a  great  loss  to  his  people.  The 
bust,  which  gave  one  the  impression  of  being  a 
likeness,  was  good  in  an  artistic  point  of  view. 
It  was  both  modelled  and  worked  by  a  native 
of  Kolhopur.  We  questioned  the  pupils  as  to 
the  abilities  of  the  young  Rajah,  and  asked  if  he 
was  acquainted  with  Sanskrit.  They  looked 
grave,  shook  their  heads,  and  when  pressed, 
said,  "  No,  only  with  a  little  English — nothing 
else."  We  afterwards  heard  that  the  young 
gentleman  was  a  very  naughty  boy  indeed,  and 
exceedingly  sly,  giving  his  English  tutor  a 
world  of  trouble ;  but  as  he  is  only  about  twelve 
years  old,  he  has  time  to  amend  his  ways.  He 
is  educated  along  with  another  young  prince, 
the  Rajah  of  Sawant-Wadi. 

We  were  ushered  into  a  fine  library  and  read- 
ing-room, and  I  was  amused  at  seeing  Dr.  Os- 
wald's works  placed  next  to  "  Vanity  Fair," 
and  speculated  as  to  what  the  Hindoo  boys 
would  make  of  Becky  Sharp.  The  education 
in  these  government  schools,  it  is  scarcely  ne- 
cessary to  remark,  is  purely  secular.  Still  at- 
tended by  our  suite,  we  were  taken  up  to  an 


adjoining  roof,  which  formed  part  of  the  palace, 
from  which  we  looked  down  upon  the  quad- 
rangular court  and  surrounding  pile  of  build- 
ings. The  space  enclosed  was  of  considerable 
extent,  and  is  used  for  reviews,  and  sports  of 
various  sorts.  It  was  a  queer  old  place,  rudely 
painted  in  stripes  of  many  colours,  in  which 
red  predominated,  and  was  undergoing  the  re- 
paration which  it  sorely  needed.  The  mother 
and  widow  of  the  late  Rajah  live  in  a  low  bun- 
galow, erected  upon  the  flat  roof  of  the  vast 
audience-hall.  It  was  painted  blue  and  white, 
and  had  an  air  of  homely  comfort ;  the  lattice- 
work around  was  covered  with  creepers,  and 
the  terraces  set  with  shrubs  and  pretty  flowers 
in  pots.  Close  at  hand,  in  a  dark  chamber  with 
an  open  door,  there  reposed  two  immense  kettle- 
drums, which  are  used  on  festive  occasions. 

We  were  next  invited  to  ascend  a  winding 
staircase  leading  to  a  small  platform,  which 
commanded  an  extensive  view  both  over  the 
town  and  the  surrounding  country.  The  nar- 
row streets  teemed  with  white-clad  men,  duskily 
robed  women,  having  glittering  lotos  on  their 
heads,  and  naked  children  ;  the  wooden  houses 
looked  poor  and  dark.  Kolhopur  is  a  walled 
town,  w7ith  five  gates,  which  are  closed  at  night, 
and  guarded  by  day.      The  one  by  which  we 


had  entered  was  surmounted  by  a  lofty  Sara- 
cenic arch.  Away  from  these  busy  haunts  were 
several  large  houses.,  surrounded  by  stately 
groves  of  mango,  and  tamarind,  and  palm-trees. 
They,  like  the  palace,  were  profusely  decorated 
in  bright  colours  ;  but  by  far  the  most  interest- 
ing spot  in  the  whole  place  lay  at  our  feet.  It 
was  a  Jaina  temple,  covered  in  by  three  sepa- 
rate graduated  roofs,  one  of  which  was  sur- 
mounted by  a  spire,  indicating  the  cell  of  the 
idol.  The  building  was  enclosed  by  colonnades 
of  pillars,  and  the  whole  was  carefully  hidden 
from  the  public  gaze  by  a  high  wall.  In  the 
far  distance  spread  the  shimmering  waters  of 
the  tank,  or  lake,  on  the  banks  of  which  were 
groups  of  white  temples,  shaded  by  sacred 
trees.  We  drove  there  afterwards,  and  did  not 
find  that  we  were  rewarded  for  our  pains. 

Kolhopur  is  situated  upon  bare,  undulating 
downs — pretty,  it  may  be,  when  the  rains  have 
renewed  their  carpet  of  green,  but  looking 
utterly  desolate  in  their  present  dried-up  con- 
dition. Returning  home,  we  passed  the  newly- 
made  Badminton  ground  and  Government 
gardens.  They  were  pretty  and  shady,  ad- 
vantage having  been  taken  of  a  group  of  noble 
old  trees;  and  the  soil  evidently  suited  the 
double-pink  and  red  geraniums  which  grew  in 



rich  clumps.  "We  were  not  able  to  examine  the 
other  flowers,  having  to  hurry  to  the  bungalow 
in  order  to  dress  for  a  dinner-party. 

Our  next  day's  start  was  later  than  usual. 

G had  his  Arabs  up  to  try  for  the   first 

time.  M.  accompanied  him,  but  being  no  hero- 
ine, I  declined  to  join  the  expedition.  About 
half  an  hour  before  we  left,  a  heavily-laden  car- 
riage drew  up.  The  top  was  piled  high  with 
bassinets  and  cribs,  and  bedding  and  baths ; 
and  the  inside  was  a  very  hive,  out  of  which 
poured  innumerable  small  children.  I  think 
that  their  number  must  have  been  made  up  of 
twins  or  triplets.  A  scene  of  utter  confusion 
ensued — the  outgoing  baby  roared,  the  incom- 
ing baby  screamed,  the  nurses  and  ayahs  got 
into  a  muddle  with  their  bottles  and  baskets, 
and  all  talked  at  once  at  the  top  of  their 
voices.  Great  was  the  excitement,  and  in  the 
very  midst  of  it  another  large  vehicle  came 
bowling  up,  with  a  solitary  individual — a  host 
in  himself,  a  red-nosed,  irate  colonel.  When 
told  that  he  was  too  late  to  obtain  shelter,  his 
wrath  was  amusing.  "  It  was  the  third  time," 
he  said,  "  that  he  had  found  this  very  bungalow 
full,  and  the  authorities  should  hear  of  it."  The 
bystanders  laughed,  the  warrior  shot  withering 
glances  from  under  his  shaggy  brows,  bowled 

VOL.  I.  M 


away,  and  was  lost  to  sight  in  a  vast  cloud  of 
dust.  The  calm  which  ensued  when  we  were 
once  off  was  perfectly  delightful. 

Kolhopur  is  a  large  military  station,  but  the 
people  condemned  to  live  there  are,  during  the 
hot  season,  sincerely  to  be  pitied.  Provisions, 
too,  are  scarce.  Mutton  is  not  to  be  got ;  the 
beef  is  very  indifferent ;  and  it  is  impossible  to 
procure  a  tolerable  supply  of  vegetables.  As 
we  passed  along,  all  the  bushes  and  small  trees 
were  shrouded  in  dust,  and  were  either  dead  or 
appeared  to  be  so.  There  were,  however,  some 
signs  of  future  growth,  as  people  were  busy 
planting  out  slips  of  sugar-cane,  but  only  in 
places  which  could  be  irrigated.  The  evening 
was  very  fine,  and  when  night  came  on  it  was 
still  so  clear  that  we  could  see  with  great  dis- 
tinctness far-distant  objects.  The  crescent  moon, 
too  young  to  obscure  the  calm,  steady  light  of 
the  stars,  soon  sank  behind  a  low  line  of  hill, 
and  we  lay  back,  enjoying  the  scene  in  silence. 

While  we  were  enjoying  the  cool  sea  breeze 
which  had  succeeded  the  cruel  heat  of  the  day, 
we  fell  over  suddenly  on  one  side,  with  an 
alarming  bump.  My  dog  was  in  my  lap.  As 
we  did  not  know  what  was  about  to  happen, 

G jumped  out,  and  we  scrambled  after  him. 

Our  wheel  was  off,  and  it  was  four  miles  to  any 


station.  The  second  carriage  immediately 
came  up,  and  its  contents  being  disgorged,  we 
all  sat  down  in  a  string  by  the  side  of  the  road. 
Two  passing  peasants  were  hailed,  and  all  the 
men  set  actively  to  work  to  repair  the  mischief, 
the  box  of  the  wheel  having  gone  wrong.  The 
light  of  the  improvised  torches  cast  their  glare 
upon  red  turbans,  dark  faces,  glittering  eyes, 
and  teeth  of  dazzling  whiteness.  How  a  Dutch 
artist  of  old  would  have  delighted  to 
paint  such  a  scene.  We  strayed  about  until 
we  were  tired,  and  the  children  were  sent  to 
their  slumbers.  It  was  a  pretty  spot,  close  by 
a  great  banyan-tree,  which  cast  a  deep  black 
shadow  in  the  distance ;  low  hills  were  clearly 
cut  against  a  greenish  background,  and  on  a 
plot  of  grass  away  from  the  road  a  huge  boul- 
der-stone was  set  upright  upon  a  pivot,  perhaps 
so  placed  by  hands  which  had  been  dust  for 
centuries.  We  did  not  dare  to  sit  near  the 
tree,  for  fear  of  snakes,  so  we  nestled  down  by 
the  boulder,  and  watched  the  progress  and 
decline  of  a  fire  in  the  distance,  which  we 
imagined  to  be  that  of  a  bungalow  burning. 
At  first  the  flames  shot  up  vigorously,  but  at 
last  they  died  down,  leaving  behind  an  ardent 
glow  and  a  bright  spot,  the  brilliancy  of  which 
gradually    declined,   till    it    disappeared    alto- 

M  2 


gether.  Then  the  post,  who  came  galloping  by, 
stopped  for  a  moment  to  give  advice,  but 
offered  no  assistance,  and  tore  away  into  dark- 
ness. We  then  turned  our  eyes  to  the  sky,  and 
gazed  at  Orion,  and  the  ever-glorious  Southern 
Cross,  which  stood  erect  before  us. 

We  were  soon  again  en  route.  Nipani,  the 
next  place  to  which  we  came,  is  a  town  of  some 
historical  interest,  as  for  centuries  its  powerful 
chiefs  had  waged  constant  and  fierce  war  with 
their  neighbours,  their  principal  feud  being  with 
the  Rajahs  of  Kolhopur  and  the  chiefs  of  Bel- 
gaum,  and  in  1796  matters  were  going  so  badly 
with  the  reigning  Desay,  or  Nipanikar,  that 
Major-General  Campbell  was  ordered  by  General 
Wellesley  to  march  to  his  relief.  In  consequence 
of  this  timely  assistance,  the  Nipanikar  for  a 
time  co-operated  with  the  English,  but  still 
continued  at  enmity  with  his  Kolhopur  neigh- 
bour, whom  in  1808  he  totally  defeated,  taking 
five  thousand  men,  and  all  his  cannon,  colours, 
and  elephants,  the  Rajah  himself  being  sorely 
wounded.  But  the  struggle  continued,  and 
after  a  time  was  found  to  be  so  troublesome  to 
other  states,  that  the  Peishwa,  then  supreme  in 
power,  not  only  insisted  upon  peace,  but  arrang- 
ed a  marriage  between  the  Desay  of  Nipani  and 
one  of  the  Kolhopur  princesses.     The  marriage 


was  celebrated  at  Kolhopur,  but  a  considerable 
gloom  was  cast  over  the  festivities  by  the  sud- 
den departure  of  the  Nipani  chief,  who,  suspect- 
ing treachery,  decamped  in  the  night,  along 
with  his  bride.  Time  went  on.  The  Nipanikar 
outwardly  supported  the  English,  but  it  was 
known  that  he  meditated  treachery. 

Strange  stories  of  the  Desay's  cruelty,  origi- 
nating, no  doubt,  in  the  fear  he  inspired,  are 
still  current  in  the  neighbourhood.  On  one 
occasion  he  is  said  to  have  amused  himself  by 
making  several  young  and  beautiful  women 
stand  side  by  side  on  a  narrow  balcony  without 
parapet,  overhanging  one  of  the  deep  reser- 
voirs of  the  palace.  Passing  along  inside  the 
line  of  trembling  women,  he  would  suddenly 
thrust  one  of  them  headlong  into  the  water 
below,  in  which  he  would  watch  her  drowning 
struggles,  and  gloat  over  her  dying  agonies. 

In  1831  the  Nipanikar  endeavoured  to  im- 
pose a  suppositious  child  on  Government  as  his 
heir,  but  the  fraud  was  discovered.  It  came 
to  light  that  one  of  his  wives,  Tay-Bay,  had 
been  taken  to  a  house  in  Nipani,  on  the  pretence 
that  she  was  about  to  bear  a  child.  A  widow 
who  expected  soon  to  be  delivered  was  convey- 
ed to  the  same  abode.  When  the  child,  a  boy, 
was  born,  he  was  placed  in  Tay-Bay's  arms,  and 

166       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

given  out  to  be  her  offspring.  The  widow  was 
murdered,  and  information  was  given  by  the 
owner  of  the  house  in  which  the  affair  took 
place,  but  he  soon  after  died  with  suspicious 
suddenness.  His  story  was  confirmed  by  the 
discovery  of  the  widow's  body.  Government, 
in  consideration  of  the  Nipani  chief's  age,  and 
of  the  services  he  had  rendered  to  the  British 
army  in  1800  and  1803,  did  not  accede  to  the 
recommendation  of  the  political  agent  immedi- 
ately to  confiscate  his  saringam,  or  territories, 
but  determined  to  punish  the  Desay  by  declar- 
ing that  the  estates  were  to  lapse  after  his 
death,  and  that  no  son  of  his  body  or  of  his 
adoption  would  be  recognized  as  heir  to  the 
saringam,  though  he  would  be  allowed  to  in- 
herit the  chiefs  personal  property.  General 
Munro  writes  thus  respecting  him  : 

"  He  is  too  wary,  and  has  still  too  many  pos- 
sessions, acquired  almost  entirely  from  his  con- 
nection with  the  British  Government,  to  run 
any  risk  of  losing  them.  He  is,  besides,  not 
ignorant  that  he  is  detested  by  the  inhabitants 
of  jaghirs  (villages  and  the  lands  attached  to 
them),  for  his  opposition  and  wanton  cruelty. 
During  the  late  campaign  I  received  invitations 
from  most  of  the  villages  to  take  possession  of 

TYRANNY  OF  THE  DESAY.        167 

At  last  the  Desay  became  so  unmanageable 
that  General  Munro  determined  to  march  on 
Nipani,  intending  to  lay  siege  to  the  fort,  unless 
the  Desay  agreed  without  reservation  to  the 
terms  he  proposed.  This  compelled  the  Nipani- 
kar  to  submit,  which  he  did  immediately  on  the 
arrival  of  the  army  before  Nipani.  He  had  from 
the  beginning  of  his  career  pursued  a  system  of 
throwing  into  prison  all  the  rich  inhabitants, 
not  only  of  his  own  districts,  but  of  every  dis- 
trict in  which  he  obtained  temporary  authority, 
with  a  view  of  extorting  money  from  them,  and 
of  seizing  and  keeping  in  confinement  the 
women  the  most  remarkable  for  their  beauty. 
Many  of  these  unfortunate  people  had  been  in 
prison  ten  or  twelve  years,  and  many  had  died 
every  year  from  the  cruel  treatment  to  which 
they  were  exposed.  When  General  Munro  was 
near  Nipani,  he  heard  only  of  a  few  prisoners, 
whom  he  ordered  to  be  released,  but  when  he 
marched  from  the  place  he  learned  that  about 
three  hundred  remained  in  confinement.  He 
wrote  to  the  Desay,  commanding  him  to  release 
them,  and  many  were  set  at  liberty,  but  by  no 
means  all.  The  General  therefore  directed  that 
some  of  the  villages  on  the  south  bank  of  the 
Krishna  should  not  be  restored  until  all  the 
victims  of  the  Desay's  tyranny  were  released. 

168       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

The  Nipani  Desay  had  for  some  time  past 
been  failing  in  health.  He  was  very  infirm,  and 
subject  to  fits,  under  which,  for  a  time,  he  com- 
pletely lost  his  reason.  On  June  28th,  1839,  he 
died.,  having  previously  adoped  Morar  Rao,  the 
son  of  his  half-brother,  as  heir  to  his  private 
estates.  No  sooner  was  he  dead  than  his  six 
widows  began  to  quarrel  over  the  property. 
The  eldest  had  the  custody  of  the  heir,  and  the 
five  others  kept  up  continued  complaints 
against  her.  She  died  at  the  end  of  1840,  and 
the  management  of  the  property  was  entrusted 
to  the  rest  of  the  widows.  Two  of  the  remain- 
ing ladies  induced  the  boy's  father  to  seize  his 
son,  adopted  by  the  late  Desay,  and  with  the 
aid  of  the  Arabs,  whom  to  the  number  of  five 
hundred  the  Nipanikar  had  kept  in  his  ser- 
vice, to  take  possession  of  the  fort  and  set  the 
authorities  at  defiance.  The  aid  of  the  military 
had  to  be  called  in,  and  the  fort,  being  attacked 
on  September  20th,  1841,  surrendered  on  the 
following  day,  and  was  afterwards  dismantled 
at  the  expense  of  the  young  heir,  who  had  to 
pay  also  the  whole  cost  of  the  expedition.  This 
story  of  crime  and  intrigue,  abstracted  from  the 
records  of  the  Bombay  Government,  I  have 
been  induced  to  give,  in  spite  of  its  length,  as 
illustrative  of  the  state  of  Mahratta  family  life 


even  in  this  century.  Not  a  castle-crowned 
hill  in  all  the  Deccan  but  could  tell  of  similar 

The  travellers'  bungalow  at  Nipani  stands  in 
the  shade  of  the  ancient  fort.  There  were 
masses  of  ruined  battlements,  scattered  into 
wild  confusion  by  gunpowder,  not  fifty  yards 
from  my  chamber  window.  I  was  not  long 
before  I  threaded  my  way  amongst  them, 
peeped  down  into  the  deep  ditch,  and  climbed 
the  fragment  of  a  bastion  still  in  situ.  Its 
grass-grown  summit  was  strong  even  in  decay. 
From  my  lofty  perch  I  commanded  a  complete 
view  of  the  crumbling  walls,  to  which  Nipani 
once  owed  its  troublesome  strength.  Acres 
and  acres  of  ground,  once  covered  by  buildings, 
were  now  abandoned  to  a  few  straggling  herds 
of  cattle,  who  were  trying  to  keep  life  in  them 
by  munching  the  sun-scorched  herbage. 

I  was  pondering  upon  the  past,  and  Bustle 
was   intent   upon   a  tit-mouse,   when  M.    and 

G came  forth  and  beckoned  to  me.     There 

were  but  two  buildings  in  the  whole  enceinte — 
the  Travellers'  Rest  and  a  great  square  pile  of 
brick  in  the  distance,  the  wicked  Desay's  ruined 
palace.  It  had  not  at  all  the  appearance  of  an 
Eastern  building,  but  more  resembled  Hampton 
Court,  seen  from  a  distant  reach  of  old  Father 

170       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

Thames,  than  anything  else.  Not  being  able 
to  pursue  a  straight  path  towards  it,  we  had  to 
search  for  gaps  in  the  green  walls  of  prickly 
pears,  formidable  barriers,  from  which  I  bore 
away  a  six  weeks'  remembrance  in  the  shape  of 
a  fine  sharp  thorn.  These  plants  were  covered 
with  flame-coloured  fruit  about  the  size  of  eggs, 
the  sweet,  mawkish  substance  of  which  was  so 
well  armed  by  nature  against  the  hand  of  the 
wayfarer  that  it  needed  no  other  protection. 
In  Spain,  and  probably  in  India,  this  fruit  is 
made  into  little  cakes,  stained  in  every  variety 
of  colour,  and  pressed  into  elegant  shapes, 
beautiful  to  look  at,  but  dust  and  ashes  in  the 

Passing  under  a  lofty  archway,  we  entered 
the  palace,  and  as  we  rambled  over  the  buildiug 
we  saw  sufficient  indications  to  lead  us  to  the 
conclusion  that  it  had  never  been  completely 
finished.  The  great  beams  of  teak  and  other 
wooden  fittings  were  finely  carved,  and  some 
vacant  places  suggested  the  idea  that  some  of 
them  had  been  removed.  There  were  vast, 
echoing  corridors,  and  on  each  side,  hollowed 
out  of  the  thick  walls,  were  cells,  unprotected 
by  the  doors  which  had  once  secured  them. 
These  recesses  were  scarcely  four  feet  in  width, 
and  no  adult  could  have  stood  upright  in  them. 


Miserable  must  have  been  the  lot  of  the  poor 
cramped  victims  of  the  Nipani's  cruelty  who 
were  imprisoned  in  them.  The  Desay  had 
evidently  had  a  fondness  for  tanks,  there  being 
two  in  front  of  the  palace,  two  in  the  centre 
court,  and  two  in  a  cloistered  court  beyond. 
They  were  very  ornamental,  still  full  of  water, 
and  surrounded  by  broad  copings  of  sculptured 
stone.  One,  which  was  overhung  by  a  balcony, 
we  supposed  to  be  that  into  which  the  wretched 
old  man  was  wont  to  hurl  the  victims  of  his 
capricious  cruelty. 

We  had  to  be  careful  in  mounting  the  narrow 
corkscrew  stone  steps  which  led  to  the  upper 
story ;  nor  were  the  wide  passages  altogether 
safe,  though  they  appeared  to  have  been  strong- 
ly built,  the  dislocation  of  the  stones  and  the 
wide  cracks  which  we  observed  being  probably 
the  effect  of  earthquakes.  The  rooms  to  which 
these  stairs  led  were  long,  low,  narrow,  and 
dark,  but  semi-obscurity  is  a  luxury  in  the  East. 
The  unplastered  walls  had  once  been  concealed 
by  rich  hangings ;  and  there  were  numberless 
hooks  for  suspending  lamps  and  lanterns. 
What  scenes  may  have  taken  place  in  these 
chambers  when  the  old  chief's  wicked  will  ran 

At  the  end  of  one  corridor  there  was  a  large 

172       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

■window,  which  commanded  an  extensive  view 
over  the  towrn  and  the  flat  country  beyond,  and 
from  it  we  overlooked  a  seventh  tank,  which 
was  evidently  the  one  used  by  the  people,  being 
very  large — quite  a  lake,  in  fact.  In  the  middle 
of  it  rose  a  small  square  island  of  red  rock, 
which  had  been  shaped  by  art.  It  was  perfect- 
ly square,  with  a  deep  cutting  on  one  side.  It 
was  probably  the  site  of  some  ancient  temple, 
and  the  spot  from  which  the  place  derives  its 
name,  Nipani,  in  Mahratta  means  "  the  Town 
of  the  Water." 

Recrossing  the  sandy  plain,  we  came  upon 
that  most  melancholy  sight,  the  solitary  grave 
of  an  Englishman  in  a  distant  foreign  land — a 
spot  over  which  I  always  feel  inclined  to  linger, 
as  if  my  sympathy  could  avail  the  dead.  This 
tomb  was  raised  to  the  memory  of  a  certain 
"  George  Sandford,  Overseer  P.  W.  Department. 
Aged  31." 

We  had,  alas !  but  one  more  night  to  pass 
before  the  end  of  this  journey,  which  to  me  had 
been  delightful.  How  I  did  enjoy  opening  my 
eyes  each  morning  upon  a  new  scene,  and 
roving  about  whilst  the  dew  still  glistened ! 
We  were  to  sleep  at  Soutguttee,  and  in  order 
to  reach  it,  had  to  cross  a  short  but  steep  ghat, 
the   abrupt  sides  of  which  were  shaggy  with 


jungle.  The  plain  beyond  was  mapped  out 
into  fields,  divided  from  one  another  by  low 
banks,  which  at  a  later  period  would  be  irri- 
gated. The  dark  earth  exposed  had  a  gloomy 
appearance,  but  I  was  told  that,  after  the  rains, 
this  district  would  be  luxuriantly  green,  covered, 
as  it  would  be,  with  rich  crops  of  sugar-cane, 
tobacco,  the  castor-oil  plant,  maize,  many  other 
sorts  of  grain,  and  yellow  blossoming  cotton. 
It  is  the  black  earth  which  makes  Barocla 
so  exceedingly  fertile ;  but  there  is  not  much 
of  this  precious  soil  in  the  district  of  Bel- 

We  had  to  rise  before  daybreak,  but  by  the 
time  my  small  personal  arrangements  were 
made,  there  was  a  glimmer  of  light.  Having 
half  an  hour  at  my  disposition,  M.  advised  me 
to  take  a  walk  by  a  path  through  the  woods, 
which  led  to  a  very  remarkable  banyan-tree, 
under  which  the  Duke  of  Wellington  is  said  to 
have  camped.  The  roots,  which  had  shot  down 
and  sprung  up  again  in  stems,  had  become 
united  with  the  parent-tree,  and  formed  a  cor- 
rugated wall,  which  I  measured  with  my  pocket- 
handkerchief,  and  found  to  be  thirteen  yards  in 
length.  I  ran,  in  order  to  get  a  peep  at  another 
banyan-tree,  which  is  still  more  curious.  The 
weeping  roots  had  formed  a  hundred  independ- 

174       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

exit  stems,  which  clustered  round  their  parent 
stem,  and  mingled  their  leaves  with  its  foliage. 
A  regiment  might  have  bivouacked  beneath  the 
shade  of  this  magnificent  tree.  It  is  neither 
safe  nor  pleasant  to  loiter  under  these  trees, 
which  afford  famous  cover  for  flying  foxes, 
snakes,  and  monkeys,  which  find  shelter  beneath 
them  in  legions.  The  scene  recalled  to  my 
memory  those  famous  lines  by  Milton,  from  the 
ninth  book  of  "  Paradise  Lost " — 

"  The  fig-tree,  not  that  kind  for  fruit  renown'd, 
But  such  as  at  this  day  to  Indians  known, 
In  Malabar  or  Deccan  spreads  her  arms, 
Branching  so  broad  and  long,  that  in  the  ground 
The  bended  twigs  take  root,  and  daughters  grow 
About  the  mother-tree,  a  pillar'd  shade 
High  over-arch'd,  and  echoing  walls  between  ; 
There  oft  the  Indian  herdsman,  shunning  heat, 
Shelters  in  cool,  and  tends  his  pasturing  herds 
At  loop-holes  cut  through  thickest  shade ;  those  leaves 
They  gathered,  broad  as  Amazonian  targe  ; 
And  with  what  skill  they  had,  together  sew'd, 
To  gird  their  waist." 

Soutguttee  is  a  delightful  place,  situated  on 
the  slopes  of  a  narrow  valley,  watered  by  the 
Gatpanba,  the  same  river  which,  rushing  over 
the  high  black  precipices  at  Gokak,  forms  the 
famous  falls.  At  Soutguttee  it  is  a  fine  clear 
stream,  winding  along  a  rocky  bed,  and  form- 
ing deep  pools,  in  which  the  alligator  loves  to 


dwell.  The  river  furnishes  fine  sport  to  the  fish- 
erman, and  the  jungle  on  its  banks  abounds  in 
big  as  well  as  little  game.  No  wonder  that  this 
spot  is  in  great  request  in  hot  weather.  People 
from  Belgaum  bring  thither  their  tents,  and  pitch 
them  under  the  lofty  trees.  It  has  one  draw- 
back, however — that  there  is  a  good  deal  of 
fever  about  the  place,  and  the  adjacent  villages 
of  the  district,  which  belong  to  a  native  chief, 
are  unhealthy. 

We  had  now  to  mount  a  steep  but  short  ghat, 
our  last,  our  way  being  through  very  thick 
jungle.  M.  bade  me  remark  the  number  of  leaf- 
less climbing  plants,  which  she  told  me  were 
superb  after  the  rains.  "We  traced  the  old 
palanquin  road  which  passed  over  the  steepest 
part  of  the  hill,  paved,  and  so  narrow  that  no 
wheeled  carriage  could  have  used  it.  At  last 
we  began  to  descend.  At  our  feet  lay  a  great 
plain,  embraced  by  long  low  hills — fells,  we 
should  have  called  them  in  the  north  of  Eng- 
land, overtopped  towards  the  west  by  great 
ghats,  and  they  again  by  the  peaks  of  a  moun- 
tain chain,  bounded  by  the  Portuguese  territory, 
which  slopes  down  to  the  coast  of  Malabar. 
We  passed  a  village  with  an  ancient  domed 
mosque  and  tanks,  and  a  craggy  hill,  with  a 
ruined   castle   on  its   summit ;    and    then    M. 

176       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

pointed  to  a  long  dark  line  of  wall,  broken  here 
and  there  by  a  bulging  battlemented  tower, 
over  which  waved  a  mass  of  rich  green  foliage. 
The  fort  of  Belgaum  loomed  larger  and  larger 
out  of  the  hot  atmosphere  as  we  gradually  ap- 
proached it.  We  crossed  a  deep  fosse  in  which 
the  water  shimmered,  passed  under  a  low  gate- 
way, flanked  by  bastions,  curved  between  red 
battlemented  walls,  plunged  into  the  darkness 
of  the  vaulted  main  guard,  dimly  visible  by  a 
light  which  was  suspended  over  the  head 
of  a  many-limbed  divinity  under  a  shrine, 
and  emerging  near  an  extensive  ruin,  with 
painted  arches,  passed  a  little  green  on  which 
stood  a  domed  and  minaretted  tomb,  turned 
suddenly  under  shady  trees,  drew  up  under  a 
pillared  portico,  and  I  was  welcomed  to  our 
Indian  home. 



Belgaum — Records  and  Traditions  of  the  Fort — Stormed 
by  Mohammed  Shah — Mahmoud  Gavan — IsmaelKhan 
Shah — KhoossanToork — Sevaji — Changes  of  Name  and 
Fortune— Besieged  by  a  Force  under  General  Monro 
— Garrison  at  the  Time  of  the  Mutiny — Execution  of 
the  Chief  of  Nargund —  Description  of  the  Fort — The 
English  Church — The  Station  Library — Favourite 
Spots — Architecture  of  the  Jaina  Temples. 

IN  Mahratta,  although  there  are  many  forts 
which  play  a  more  important  part  in  his- 
tory than  that  of  Belgaum,  still  its  crumbling 
walls,  ancient  sites,  and  picturesque  ruins  tell  of 
an  eventful  story,  which  is  not  without  interest. 
Placed  upon  no  lofty  plateau,  and  defending  no 
mountain  pass,  but  situated  in  an  obscure  part 
of  Western  India,  it  owed  its  former  celebrity  to 
the  fact  of  its  being  a  border  fortress,  situated 
amidst  territories  which  were  constantly  at  war 
with  one  another,  and  frequently  changing 
masters.  It  derived  not  a  little  of  its  strength 
from  the  deep  jungle  by  which  it  was  until 
lately  surrounded.  The  natives  still  consider 
VOL.  I.  N 


Belgaum  to  be  in  the  jungle,  and  within  twenty 
years  bison  have  been  shot  close  to  the  ramparts. 

Tradition  declares  that  the  fort  was  founded 
by  a  certain  Jaina  King  called  Jaza  Rajah,  who 
built  a  large  mud  fort,  surrounded  by  a  ditch, 
on  the  site  of  the  existing  fortifications,  and  the 
existence  within  the  enceinte  of  three  Jaina 
temples  of  great  beauty  and  interest  tends  to 
favour  the  idea.  There  is,  however,  no  positive 
record  as  to  the  foundation  of  the  existing  fort, 
but  we  learn,  from  an  inscription  on  copper,  the 
date  of  which  is  1294,  in  which  many  names  are 
recorded,  and  which  was  found  in  the  fosse,  that 
at  one  period  a  certain  family,  who  were  Jains, 
held,  for  seven  generations,  the  hereditary 
chieftainship  of  Belgaum. 

After  this  period  we  have  more  information 
regarding  the  history  of  this  place,  for  the  dis- 
trict is  remarkably  rich  in  inscriptions  in  the 
Canerese  character,  beautifully  cut  in  relief, 
upon  large  slabs  of  a  compact  black  basalt, 
which  takes  a  beautiful  polish,  and  resists  the 
influence  of  the  weather.  Many  petty  wars, 
and  events  of  local  interest,  are  recorded  upon 
these  stones,  but  nothing  of  general  interest 
until  the  year  1472,  when  it  is  stated  that 
Belgaum  fort  was  besieged  by  Mohammed  Shah, 


the  Mohamedan  King  of  the  Deccan.  It  must  at 
that  time  have  been  a  place  of  strength,  as  it  is 
mentioned  in  history  as  being  protected  by- 
strong  towers  and  lofty  walls,  guarded  by  a 
deep  wet  ditch,  and  by  a  pass  near  to  it,  the 
only  approach  to  which  was  fortified  by  re- 
doubts. When  Mohammed  Shah  set  himself 
down  to  subdue  it,  he  commanded  the  fire 
workers,  as  they  valued  their  own  safety,  to 
effect  a  particular  breach  in  fourteen  days,  and 
ordered  his  soldiers  to  throw  quantities  of  wood 
and  earth  into  the  ditch.  The  enemy  in  the  night, 
however,  always  removed  them,  upon  which  he 
placed  his  guns  in  another  position,  but  only 
finally  succeeded,  by  mining,  in  forming  three 
breaches.  The  troops  of  Birkana  Ray,  Rajah  of 
the  fortress,  advanced  gallantly  to  defend  the 
place,  and  nearly  two  thousand  of  the  king's 
troops  fell  in  the  attempt  to  storm.  The  be- 
sieged had  nearly  repaired  the  works  with  wood 
and  stones  when  the  Shah,  advancing  to  the 
assault,  drove  the  enemy  before  him,  and  gained 
the  ramparts.  When  opposition  had  ceased, 
the  King  entered  the  citadel,  and  gave  thanks 
to  God  for  the  success  of  his  arms.  One  of  his 
first  acts  was  to  expel  the  image  of  Dymavavera, 
the  tutelar  goddess  of  the  fort,  but  the  sorrow- 

N  2 

180       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

ing  Hindoos  were  allowed  to  place  it  in 
a  little  temple  outside  the  walls,  which  still 

The  history  of  Belgaum  remained  intimately 
connected  with  that  of  Bijipnr  until  the  decline 
of  the  Mussulman  power  in  Western  India,  when 
it  relapsed  into  the  hands  of  the  Hindoo  princes. 
The  king  bestowed  Belgaum  and  its  depend- 
encies upon  Mahmoud  Gavan,  a  very  distin- 
guished general,  of  royal  blood,  being  connected 
with  the  Shah  of  Persia.  His  career  was  one  of 
curious  vicissitudes.  He  first  served  in  the 
Deccan,  to  which  he  came  in  the  year  1461,  and 
where  he  was  successful  in  many  campaigns, 
rendering  his  royal  master  great  services,  for 
which  he  was  made  Governor  of  Bijipur,  was 
given  a  seat  in  the  Council  of  Regency,  and  was 
appointed  a  guardian  of  the  young  prince, 
Nizam  Shah.  He  also  rose  to  the  dignity  of 
Vizier,  and  distinguished  himself  at  the  siege  of 
Goa,  but  was  finally  murdered  by  Mohammed 
Shah  in  1481.  He  was  very  famous  for  his 
learning,    justice,    and    munificence,   and    left 

*  Once  in  every  twelve  years  a  great  festival  is  held  in 
honour  of  Dymavavera,  when  buffaloes,  sheep,  and  goats  are 
sacrificed  to  her.  The  slaughter  takes  place  on  a  platform 
outside  the  little  pyramidal  building  erected  to  her.  The 
jubilee  took  place  shortly  after  M.'s  arrival  in  Belgaum. 


behind  him  a  library  of  three  thousand  volumes, 
principally  in  the  Persian  language. 

In  the  same  year  the  Mussulman  king  again 
visited  Belgaum,  probably  for  the  purpose  of 
resuming  his  full  authority  over  it.  He  in- 
spected the  city  and  examined  the  fortifications. 
Thirty  years  of  petty  warfare  ensued,  and  then 
the  golden  age  of  the  old  fort  commenced. 

Ismael  Khan  Shah  began  his  reign  at  Bijipur 
in  the  year  1511,  when  he  was  a  minor,  and  the 
attempt  at  usurpation  made  by  his  guardian 
was  the  means  of  bringing  conspicuously  for- 
ward Khoossan  Toork,  a  Persian,  who,  as  he 
took  part  in  the  deliverance  of  the  young  king, 
was  honoured  with  the  title  of  Azad  Khan,  and 
the  Government  of  Belgaum  was  conferred  upon 
him.  He  was  far  the  greatest  man  who  ever 
reigned  over  it ;  and  even  to  this  day  his  name 
is  a  household  word  among  the  people,  who 
love  and  revere  his  memory.  It  is  to  his  wise 
measures  that  the  town  has  ever  owed,  and  still 
continues  to  owe,  its  comparative  immunity 
from  cholera.  He  altered  and  repaired  the  walls 
of  the  fortress,  every  inscription  on  which  is  in 
the  Persian  character.  He  also  erected  a  grand 
palace,  which,  with  its  offices  and  stables, 
covered  a  large  space  of  ground.  There  are 
existing  records  of  the  magnificence  which  he 

182       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

maintained.  His  household  servants — Geor- 
gians, Circassians,  Abyssinians,  and  Hindoos — 
amounted  to  two  hundred  and  fifty.  He  had 
sixty  large  elephants,  and  one  hundred  and 
fifty  of  a  smaller  size.  In  his  stables  were  four 
hundred  and  fifty  Arabian  horses,  exclusive  of 
those  of  mixed  breed  foaled  in  India.  Two 
thousand  seven  hundred  pounds  of  rice  were 
every  day  prepared  for  his  household,  in  addi- 
tion to  fifty  sheep,  and  one  hundred  fowls.  It 
was  he  who  first  introduced  the  fashion  of  wear- 
ing the  waistband  of  cloth  of  gold,  and  the 
dagger,  a  custom  which  has  since  been  adopted 
by  persons  of  rank  in  this  country.  He  also 
attempted  to  ride  elephants  with  bridles  instead 
of  managing  them  with  the  goad ;  but  as  these 
animals  are  rather  unsteady,  in  consequence  of 
the  sudden  vicious  starts  to  which  they  are 
frequently  prone,  this  mode  of  guiding  them 
was,  according  to  the  old  chronicle,  not  found 
to  answer. 

Years  flew  by,  during  which  Azad  Khan  was 
constantly  at  war,  and  proved  himself  a  most 
successful  general,  acquiring  great  riches,  in  the 
form  of  gold,  jewels,  and  elephants.  On  one 
occasion,  it  is  related  that,  after  a  battle,  the 
King  of  Bijipur  presented  him  with  five  large 
and  six  small  elephants ;  and  at  another  time, 

AZAD  KHAN.  183 

when  he  had  taken  a  large  quantity  of  baggage 
and  twenty  elephants,  the  king  gave  him  all 
these  animals  but  one,  which  he  reserved  for 
himself,  and  called  Alia  Baksh  (the  Gift  of  God). 
Towards  the  end  of  his  life,  when  very  ill,  he 
succeeded  in  frustrating  the  design  of  a  neigh- 
bouring chief,  Nizam  Shah,  who  had  a  great 
wish  to  possess  himself  of  Belgaum,  with  which 
design  he  entrusted  a  large  sum  of  money  to  a 
Brahman,  who  was  directed  to  employ  it  in 
corrupting  the  soldiers  of  the  garrison,  in  the 
hope  that  they  would  deliver  the  fort  into  his 
hands,  in  case  of  Azad's  death.  The  Brahman 
had  nearly  succeeded  in  his  commission,  when 
the  plot  was  discovered,  and  the  chief  agent  in 
it,  in  spite  of  his  high  caste,  was  put  to  death, 
along  with  seventy  of  the  soldiers  whom  he 
had  bribed.  Old  age  having  rendered  Azad  too 
weak  to  contend  with  a  deep-seated  malady,  he 
prepared  to  meet  death,  and  in  lines  (of 
which  the  following  is  a  translation),  he  en- 
treated the  King  of  Bijipur  to  honour  him  with 
a  farewell  visit.  "Come  like  the  morning 
breeze  to  the  bower  of  friendship,  Come  like 
the  graceful  cypress  to  the  garden." 

Ibraham  assented  to  the  request,  and  on  his 
arrival  finding  his  old  friend  had  breathed  his 
last,  he  administered  consolation  to  his  family 

184       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

by  attaching  all  the  late  Khan's  estates  and 
treasures.  The  fine  old  chief  died  in  the  year 
1549,  having  held  Belgaum  during  thirty-three 
prosperous  years.  He  left  a  name  not  only 
dear  to  his  people,  but  celebrated  in  the  history 
of  the  period;  and  we  have  heard  that  his 
standard,  on  which  was  embroidered  an  angry 
lion,  was  bestowed  as  a  great  honour  upon 
Kishwar  Khan. 

In  the  year  1557,  the  treacherous  King  of 
Bijipur  lay  on  his  death-bed.  He  had,  on 
religious  grounds,  quarrelled  with  both  of  his 
sons,  the  eldest  of  whom,  his  heir,  was  under 
surveillance  in  Miraj,  whilst  the  youngest  was 
in  confinement  at  Belgaum,  under  the  charge 
of  Kishwar  Khan,  the  governor,  where,  upon  the 
accession  of  his  brother,  he  was  still  kept  pri- 
soner. Though  treated  with  kindness  and 
generosity,  he  determined  to  rebel,  and  having 
persuaded  the  governor  and  the  garrison  to 
assist  him,  he  took  possession  of  the  fort,  and 
raised  the  standard  of  rebellion,  upon  which  a 
renowned  general,  Elias  Khan,  was  sent  with 
five  thousand  men  to  besiege  the  place.  Great 
confusion  followed,  and  in  order  completely  to 
quell  the  insurrection,  a  further  force  of  twenty 
thousand  horse  and  thirty  thousand  foot,  was 
sent  against  Belgaum,  under  Ein-ul-Mulk,  who, 


treacherously  pretending  to  be  the  friend  of 
the  young  prince,  persuaded  him  to  take  the 
field,  with  those  who  were  willing  to  espouse 
his  cause,  and  march  upon  Bijipur.  The  un- 
fortunate Ismael  fell  into  the  trap  laid  for  him, 
and  was  taken  prisoner  and  executed.  Nor  did 
it  fare  better  with  the  double  traitor,  Ein-al- 
Mulk,  who  was  also  put  to  death,  his  head 
being  sent  to  Bijipur,  where,  for  a  certain  time, 
it  was  exposed  upon  a  pole  in  front  of  the 
palace,  and  afterwards  blown  from  a  great 

The  next  important  prisoners  confined  in  the 
fort  were  the  Portuguese  ambassador  and  his 
suite.  About  this  time,  in  consequence  of  a 
change  of  territory,  Belgaum  ceased  to  be  a 
frontier  fort,  and  no  particular  mention  of  it 
appears  until  1673,  when  the  renowned  Sevaji, 
with  his  famous  light  cavalry,  swept  down  and 
sacked  both  town  and  fort.  At  the  fall  of  Biji- 
pur, in  1688,  the  fort  reverted  to  the  Mahrattas, 
and  was  in  the  possession  of  Aurangzib,  second 
son  of  the  powerful  Prince  A'Zam,  at  which 
period  it  acquired  the  name  A'Zamnagar.  After 
the  lapse  of  some  years  the  name  was  changed 
to  Mustafabad,  after  a  Kiledar  who  thoroughly 
repaired  and  strengthened  the  ramparts ;  and 
this  appellation  it  still  retains. 

186       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

One  year  after  the  battle  of  Kirhee,  the  Eng- 
lish, under  General  Munro,  marched  against  it. 
He  encamped  near  Sharpur,  on  the  morning  of 
March  11th,  1818,  with  a  comparatively  insignifi- 
cant force  of  native  soldiers,  and  three  troops 
of  His  Majesty's  twenty-second  Light  Dragoons, 
a  force  so  weak  that  it  tended  to  confirm  the 
garrison,  and  the  inhabitants  of  Belgaum  and 
Sharpur  (who  had  a  high  opinion  of  the  strength 
of  the  fort),  in  the  belief  that  it  could  not  be 

The  English  were  unable  to  obtain  accu- 
rate intelligence  as  to  the  state  of  the  ditch, 
which  was  the  great  defence  of  the  place, 
otherwise  the  attack  would  not  have  been 
made  from  the  points  selected.  On  the  fif- 
teenth, the  fort  was  invested,  but  nothing  par- 
ticular occurred  until  the  twentieth,  when  the 
force  marched  to  the  north  of  the  fort,  and 
encamped  about  two  miles  and  a  half  from  it. 
On  the  twenty-second,  the  first  battery  opened 
on  the  defences,  and  on  the  following  day  the 
pioneers  broke  ground,  and  began  opening 
trenches.  On  the  thirty-first,  the  magazine 
belonging  to  one  of  the  batteries,  in  which 
there  was  a  considerable  amount  of  ammu- 
nition, blew  up.  The  garrison  took  immediate 
advantage    of  this   misfortune,   and  making  a 


sally,  succeeded  in  passing  over  the  battery, 
but  were  immediately  repulsed.  During  the 
following  days  such  steady  progress  was  made 
by  the  English  that  on  or  about  April  9th,  the 
Kiledar  (acting  governor)  sent  out  a  flag  of 
truce  to  propose  terms,  but  General  Munro  did 
not  accept  them.  Next  day  all  the  batteries 
kept  up  a  heavy  fire  on  the  fort,  and  the 
breach,  though  not  exactly  practicable,  began  to 
have  a  more  favourable  appearance,  in  conse- 
quence of  which  the  Kiledar  found  himself  under 
the  necessity  of  accepting  the  condition  offered 
by  General  Munro,  which  was  that  he  should 
give  up  possession  of  the  gateway,  the  garrison 
being  allowed  to  march  out  with  their  arms  and 
private  property.  This  they  did  on  the  follow- 
ing day,  to  the  number  of  one  thousand  six 
hundred,  having  lost  seventy  men.  The  loss 
of  the  besieging  army  amounted  to  twenty- 
three  killed  and  wounded.  By  the  capture  of 
the  fort,  General  Munro  obtained  possession  of 
thirty-six  guns  of  large  calibre,  sixty  smaller 
guns,  and  numerous  wall  pieces,  besides  stores 
of  every  sort.* 

I  never  read  the  record  from  which  this  ac- 

*  The  two  breaches  effected  by  the  English  were  near 
the  main  guard,  and  are  plainly  visible, "the  masonry  which 
fills  the  gaps  being  still  ungnawed  by  time. 


count  is  abstracted  without  mentally  fighting 
the  battle  of  the  fort,  and  wishing  for  the  suc- 
cess of  its  brave  garrison.     The  fall  of  Belgaum 
completed  the  conquest  of  the  Peishwa's  terri- 
tory south  of  the  Krishna.     The  breaking  out 
of  the   Mutiny  found   Belgaum  garrisoned  by 
two  native  regiments,  a  battery  of  European 
artillery,  and  the  depot  of  an  English  regiment, 
withdrawn   to   serve   in   Persia.      The    native 
troops  were  believed  to  be  ripe  for  revolt ;  all 
the  European  women  and  children  were  brought 
into  the  fort,  and  the  small  English  garrison 
had  good  reason  to  take  every  measure  to  pro- 
vide  for   their   safety.     The  walls,  which  had 
been  somewhat  neglected,  were  put  in  a  state 
of  defence,  the  breaches  were  repaired,  and  the 
artillery  were   quartered   in   the  fort.     It  was 
thought  necessary  to  make  an  example  of  cer- 
tain emissaries  of  the  rebels,  who  were  taken  in 
the  act  of  corrupting  the  native  soldiers,  and 
they  were  blown  from  guns.     People  have  told 
me   that  they  stopped   their  ears  in  order  to 
deaden   the   horrible   sound.      Fortunately,  no 
actual  outbreak  took  place  here. 

The  year  of  the  Mutiny  is  remembered  with 
horror  by  the  natives  in  Belgaum,  on  account 
of  the  execution  of  the  Brahman  chief  of  Nar- 
gund,  who  was  put  to  death  for  the  cruel  mur- 


der  of  Mr.  Manson,  the  deputy  collector.  Mr. 
Manson  had  been  sent  to  negotiate  with  him, 
but  having  no  escort,  his  palanquin  was  attack- 
ed by  order  of  the  chief ;  his  bearers  ran  away, 
and  the  unfortunate  young  gentleman  was  cut 
and  hacked  to  pieces.  The  chief  of  Nargund 
was  ignominiously  hanged  upon  an  elevated 
spot,  which  still  bears  the  name  of  the  Brah- 
man's Hill.  I  have  met  with  many  people  who 
still  cherish  the  memory  of  Mr.  Manson,  who 
was  much  beloved. 

The  fort  of  JBelgaum  is  situated  in  the  midst 
of  an  extensive  undulating  plain.  As  it  now 
stands,  it  forms  an  irregular  oval,  enclosed  by 
a  deep  ditch,  still  full  of  water,  which  is  cut  out 
of  a  softish  red  stone,  which  hardens  on  being 
exposed  to  the  air.  The  exterior  of  the  fort  is 
surrounded  by  a  fine  broad  esplanade ;  the  re- 
vetement  rises  about  thirty-two  feet  above  the 
bottom  of  the  ditch.  The  interior  is  level,  and 
extends  about  a  thousand  yards  in  length,  by 
eight  hundred  in  breadth.  The  original  en- 
trance was  made  between  two  magnificent 
battlemented  bastions,  which  still  exist,  although 
the  gate,  which  once  opened  upon  a  bridge,  has 
been  walled  up.  The  present  main  gate,  which 
is  a  solid  pile  of  building,  is  considered  to  be  a 
fine  specimen  of  Indian  architecture.     There  is 

190       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

an  open  guard-chamber,  with  a  groined  roof, 
which  has  once  been  ornamented  by  pendents, 
and  the  exterior  is  elaborately  decorated  with 
grotesque  representations  of  animals  and  birds 
(rather  curious  ornaments  for  a  Mahomedan 
building,  but  a  Brahman  architect  is  said  to 
have  been  employed).  The  effect  has  been 
somewhat  destroyed  by  time,  and  the  frequent 
application  of  various  coats  of  colour  ;  but  the 
ostriches  still  run  races,  cats  with  open  mouths 
still  conduct  water  from  the  roof,  and  one  ele- 
phant has  been  drinking  for  centuries  out  of 
the  same  bottle.  The  little  niches  scattered 
about,  intended  to  receive  lights,  and  slippers, 
and  water-bottles,  are  very  graceful.  The 
shrine  of  the  many-armed  Durga,  the  goddess 
of  castles  and  of  war,  is  an  excrescence  placed 
in  a  corner  by  the  Hindoos  when  they  regained 
the  fortress.  "  Let  not/'  say  the  most  ancient 
laws  of  Manu,  "  foes  hurt  a  king  who  has  taken 
refuge  in  his  Durgar."  The  exterior  of  this 
curious  shrine  is  covered  with  richly-coloured 
mythological  figures.  Some  of  the  unpopular 
gods,  like  the  pictured  celebrities  of  other  na- 
tions, have  had  their  faces  scratched  out,  and 
their  noses  destroyed. 

Passing  under  a  lofty  unguarded   archway, 
we  reach  the  outworks,  and  then  come  to  a  fine 


gateway,  with  solid  iron-plated  doors,  which 
have  once  been  thickly  studded  with  iron 
spikes,  like  those  at  Poonah,  and  with  the  same 
intention.  Under  the  arch  is  an  inscription  in 
relief,  sculptured  in  Persian  characters,  to  the 
following  effect :  "  Jakub  Ali  Khan,  who  is  a 
joy  to  the  heart,  by  whose  benevolence  the 
world  is  prosperous,  built  the  wall  of  the  fort 
from  its  base  as  strong  as  the  barrier  of  Sicar- 
dis."  From  every  point  of  view  these  gates 
and  outworks  present  a  most  picturesque  ap- 
pearance. The  fine  red  colour  of  the  battle- 
ments, the  peeps  obtained  down  into  the  deep 
ditch,  where  the  still  water  lies  in  shade,  and, 
like  a  black  mirror,  reflects  the  walls  it  protects, 
and  the  tall  palms  which  fringe  its  outer  bank, 
the  mysterious  light  which  gleams  through  the 
fretwork  in  the  doors  enclosing  the  cruel  god- 
dess, all  tend  to  give  this  spot  a  romantic  charm 
which  I  have  rarely  found  equalled.  It  is  most 
beautiful  by  moonlight,  but  when  fantastic  sha- 
dows are  thrown  around,  it  looks  a  weird  place, 
where  one  almost  expects  to  see  the  tall  forms 
of  long-dead  warriors. 

On  the  western  side  of  the  fort  there  is  a 
more  modern  egress,  a  substantial  archway, 
which  is  gained  by  a  descending  road,  and  a 


sharp  turn  leads  to  a  narrow  causeway  which 
bridges  the  fosse.  It  is  guarded  only  by  low 
loops  of  thick  chain,  attached  to  ricketty  old 
cannon,  and  I  confess  that  in  crossing  it  I  have 
often  sat  behind  the  fresh  young  Arabs  with  a 
beating  heart  and  closed  eyes,  thankful  when 
the  sound  of  their  hoofs  on  the  hard  road  told 
me  that  the  dangerous  spot  was  passed.  The 
walls  of  the  fort  are  crowned  by  lofty  scalloped 
battlements,  standing  clear  of  one  another,  and 
pierced  with  long  loop-holes,  just  so  wide  as  to 
have  admitted  the  muzzles  of  the  old  jangals 
(literally  teazers),  which  now  lie  rusting  in  the 

The  Station  library  was  a  charming  retreat. 
The  books,  which  numbered  nearly  four  thou- 
sand, were  arranged  in  cases  which  lined  the 
walls  of  the  long  low  room,  and  reached  up  to 
a  ceiling  which  was  supported  by  great  time- 
honoured  beams  of  rough-hewn  teak  wood.  In 
olden  days  this  house  had  been  the  residence  of 
the  Kiledar.  In  its  deep,  shady  verandah,  set 
with  plants,  it  was  twilight  at  noonday,  but  it 
was  a  pleasant  place,  where  one  could  just  see 
to  read.  It  commanded  a  charming  peep,  be- 
tween the  boles  of  the  peepul-trees,  of  the 
ruined  gateway  where  the  Naubat  played,  and 
through   the  deep,  dark  archway,  to  an  ever- 


blooming  garden,  where,  fanned  by  the  gentle 
breeze,  the  rich-hued  blossoms,  ever  combining, 
looked  like  the  changing  colours  in  a  kaleido- 
scope. Outside  the  arsenal  the  great  guns  and 
pyramids  of  ball,  as  seen  from  our  garden,  were 
picturesque  objects.  There  was  little  to  invite 
attention  in  the  interior  of  the  building.  Some 
two  years  ago  it  contained  a  curious  collection 
of  old  native  weapons,  but  they  had  been  car- 
ried off  to  Woolwich,  or  some  other  place. 
Shreds  of  silk  dangling  disconsolately  from  bare 
poles  were  all  that  remained  of  colours  which 
had  fluttered  over  many  a  battle-field,  and  the 
piles  of  rusty  jangals  lay  in  obscure  corners — all 
else  was  fresh,  trim,  and  ready.  Some  of  the  long 
corridors  were  paved  with  sections  of  petrified 
palm  work,  the  rings  of  which  were  so  perfect 
that  with  a  little  pains  one  might  have  de- 
ciphered their  age,  and  told  which  side  of  the 
tree  had  received  the  warm  rays  of  the  rising- 
sun.  Though  last,  not  least,  I  must  make 
mention  of  our  little  snug  Gothic  church.  Its 
cockney  aspect  presented  a  striking  contrast  to 
the  crumbling  antiquities  around,  but  the  in- 
terior was  pretty  and  airy.  There  were  a  few 
memorial  tablets  upon  the  walls,  but  none  of 
general  interest,  excepting  that  which  recorded 
the  sad  death  of  Mr.  Manson.  The  edifice 
VOL.  I.  0 


stood  upon  a  small  rnaidan,  which  G hired 

for  the  benefit  of  his  cattle,  it  being  very  de- 
sirable to  graze  it  down;  for  the  long  grass 
served  as  cover  for  cobras,  which  more  than  once 
were  seen  fighting  by  the  assembling  congrega- 

Completely  shut  out  from  the  exterior  world, 
there  could  not,  to  my  mind,  exist  a  more  de- 
lightful and  romantic  spot  than  that  enclosed 
by  the  old  red  walls.  The  grassy  ramparts, 
which  are  banked  up  until  the  rounded  battle- 
ments alone  are  visible,  make  a  charming  walk 
which  commands  a  panoramic  view  of  the  sur- 
rounding country,  of  the  undulating  plain,  with 
its  woods,  cultivated  fields,  green  pastures,  and 
little  villages,  sheltered  by  lofty  mango-trees, 
the  distant  mountains,  the  jungly  hills,  the  roll- 
ing downs,  ever-changing,  peaceful  in  the  sun- 
shine, purple  and  threatening  in  the  storm.  Not 
even  water  was  wanting  to  enhance  the  charms 
of  the  landscape.  The  tank,  in  reality  a  lake 
of  some  extent,  lay  glittering  within  a  stone's 
throw  of  the  main  gate.  Banked  up  on  one 
side  by  a  lofty  wall  with  a  stone  coping,  it  was 
otherwise  at  liberty  to  lie  at  rest,  calm  and  blue, 
or  to  swell  out  into  a  turbid  inland  sea,  specked 
with  unfamiliar  islands.  At  morn  and  eve  the 
tank  was  a  busy  scene.     I  had  favourite  nooks 


from  which  I  often  watched  the  great  herds  of 
cattle  which  were  brought  up  to  water.  The 
buffaloes  delighted  in  their  early  bath,  and  waded 
about  with  just  their  noses  out  of  the  refreshing 
element.  They  are  docile  creatures,  obedient 
to  their  owner's  call,  not  half  so  difficult  to 
manage  as  the  fierce  little  untameable  cows. 
Serene-looking  bullocks  drank,  and  gazed  about 
them,  and  drank  again.  Some  pet  animal  was 
readily  distinguished  by  its  brass  collar,  garland 
of  flowers,  or  necklace  of  cowrie  shells,  put  on 
to  ensure  good  luck.  Occasionally  a  great  black 
elephant  came  slowly  down,  and  dabbled  its 
"  lotus  feet "  in  the  water,  whilst  it  was  scrubbed 
by  its  driver.  One  of  these  sagacious  crea- 
tures had  a  curious  trick  of  bending  its  ears 
forward  with  its  trunk,  in  order  that  the  skin 
behind  might  come  in  for  its  share  of  the 
washing.  Camels  came  striding  down  in  long 
file,  they  alone  looking  discontented,  for  not 
even  the  cool  morning's  draught  could  please 
these  peevish  creatures. 

Another  favourite  resting-place  was  the  top 
of  the  flag-staff,  or  Chevalier  battery,  a  strong- 
hold built  by  Azad  Khan,  within  the  walls,  but 
towering  far  above  them.  From  its  summit  the 
flag  with  the  angry  lion  had  floated  for  many 
a  year.     It  was  a  delightful  spot  at  the  hour  of 


196       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

sunset,  when  the  western  sky  was  flooded  with 
amber  or  rosy  red,  and  the  mala  was  heard  from 
the  minaret  of  the  musjid  in  the  Durga  camp, 
in  which  the  old  Khan's  bones  repose,  calling 
the  faithful  to  prayer.  While  the  cattle  slowly 
crossed  the  plain  to  their  rest,  and  the  short 
twilight  deepened,  ghostly  bands  of  white- 
robed  people  would  glide  along,  and  disappear 
beneath  the  deep  shade  of  the  mango-trees. 
Occasionally  a  procession  might  be  seen  return- 
ing from  some  ceremony,  the  shrill  notes  of  the 
musicians  toned  down  by  distance,  and  red- 
robed  women,  bearing  fire  in  their  brass 
vessels,  on  their  way  to  some  time-honoured 
temple.  How  beautiful  must  this  plain  have 
been  when  covered  up  to  the  very  foot  of  the 
distant  hills  with  a  waving  sea  of  green,  a  jungle 
of  palms,  and  bananas,  and  bamboos !  Many  a 
time  have  I  lingered,  until  suddenly  it  was  dark, 
and  I  had  to  descend  and  cross  the  pathless 
grass,  in  mental  fear  of  the  snakes.  There  is 
a  tradition  that  three  hundred  and  sixty  Jaina 
temples  were  pulled  down,  in  order  to  supply 
materials  for  building  the  present  walls  of  the 

This  part  of  the  Deccan  was  once  the  head- 
quarters of  that  curious  sect  whose  habit  it  was 
to  build  their  temples,  which  are  not  very  large, 


near  together.  There  is  no  doubt  that  almost 
all  of  the  immense  blocks  of  stone  which  have 
carving  upon  them,  and  which  are  built  into  the 
walls  irregularly,  and  without  design  to  adorn, 
are  of  Jaina  origin.  Their  style  of  ornamenta- 
tion is  very  peculiar,  and  cannot,  when  one  once 
becomes  familiar  with  it,  be  mistaken.  t  There  are 
long  narrow  stones,  strips  of  friezes  or  cornices, 
with  stiff-pointed  lotus-flowers  cut  upon  them 
(the  stiff-cut  lotus  of  Indian  art  does  not 
mean  to  imitate  Nature ;  it  is  merely  used  as  a 
symbol  of  the  power  of  those  kings  who  ruled 
over  countries  where  the  lotus  grew)  ;  and  others 
upon  which  musicians,  playing  upon  such  in- 
struments as  are  still  in  use,  pipe  to  dancing 
women  with  distorted  bodies  and  light  drapery. 
They  are  covered  with  bracelets  and  bangles, 
and  long  rows  of  beads  hang  from  their  necks  ; 
thesebands  are  generally  grouped  between  pillars, 
such  as  now  serve  for  gate-posts  at  almost 
every  bungalow  in  the  fort.  Some  of  the  carved 
divinities  are  seated  in  rows,  with  animals  at 
their  feet ;  some  are  well-proportioned,  and  cut 
in  high  relief;  others  are  rude,  and  rendered 
almost  undecipherable  by  time.  Long  after  I 
imagined  myself  to  be  acquainted  with  every 
piece  of  sculpture  around,  I  came  upon  bits  which 

198      MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

were  new  to  me — stones  which  had  been  hidden 
away  by  tall  balsams,  or  bushes  of  the  many- 
hued  lantana  (wild  sage).  One  magnificent 
stream  of  the  black-stemmed  giant  maidenhair 
fern  died  down  and  disclosed  the  figure  of  an 
elephant,  with  a  chain  round  the  body,  which 
was  in  the  act  of  treading  a  man  to  death, 
representing,  it  may  be,  some  act  of  vengeance 
which  had  taken  place  near  this  very  spot. 
From  many  a  corner  the  hooded  head  of 
a  cobra,  once  worshipped,  peeped  through  the 
long  grasses.  Another  curious  study  was  fur- 
nished by  the  monumental  stones,  which  are 
supposed  to  have  been  erected  to  the  memory 
of  warriors  slain  in  battle.  They  are  divided 
into  three  or  more  compartments.  The  lowest 
part  of  one,  which  is  in  the  fort,  represents  a 
fight,  in  which  a  soldier  is  attacked  by  armed 
men  and  slain.  In  the  next  compartment 
nymphs  are  bearing  him  on  high,  whilst  above 
he  is  seen  worshipping  the  Linga.  Upon  a 
second  stone  the  hero  is  represented  curvetting 
along  upon  his  steed,  with  his  sword-bearer  in 
advance.  The  middle  one  pictures  the  deceased 
man  rising  with  extended  arms,  whilst  the  fore- 
finger of  a  gigantic  hand  points  to  the  skies. 
In  the  third  compartment  there  is  a  bust  of  the 
warrior,  by  the  side  of  which  a  kneeling  figure 


worships  the  Linga.  Numbers  of  these  me- 
morials (all  relating  to  war)  lie  scattered  about 
the  whole  district,  and  it  is  a  pity  that  they  are 
not  removed  to  some  place  of  safety,  and  that 
no  endeavour  is  made  to  collect  any  legends 
attached  to  them.  In  all  probability  the  stories 
they  picture  have  been  gathered  into  the  chants 
and  songs  of  the  people. 

It  would  be  tedious  to  dwell  upon  the  sculp- 
tured objects  which  ornament  the  ancient  walls 
rising  up  in  every  compound,  cropping  out  of 
the  loose  stone  walls  which  surround  them,  and 
peeping  from  the  very  ditches — gods  and  pirates, 
dancing  women  and  shrined  ascetics,  beautiful 
tracery  and  grotesque  animals,  jostling  one 
another  in  strange  confusion.  Doubtless  our 
feet  have  passed  over  many  a  hidden  treasure. 
The  fort  of  Belgaum  is  indeed  a  glorious  place 
for  those  who  love  old  stones. 



Sect  of  the  Jains — Their  Opinions — Jaina  Saints — Archi- 
tecture of  the  Jain  Temples — Sena  Rajah — Legends — 
Decoration  of  the  Hall — Ornaments  in  Sculpture — 
Shrines — Spacious  Dome — Dedication  Plate — The 
Sacred  Cell — The  Second  Temple — English  Indiffer- 
ence to  the  Antiquities  of  the  Country — The  Musjid 
Safa — Concealed  Treasure — Curious  Relic — Memorials 
of  the  Past. 

BEFORE  attempting  to  describe  the  peculiar 
style  of  the  Jaina  temples,  it  may  not  be 
amiss  to  say  a  few  words  respecting  the  reli- 
gious opinions  of  the  sect  by  whom  they  were 
built,  which  at  one  time  bade  fair  to  strangle 
Brahmanism,  and  to  become  dominant  through- 
out India.  The  followers  of  Jainism,  which  seems 
to  have  risen  upon  the  ruins  of  Buddhism,  were 
probably  seceders  from  that  religion,  which  had 
become  corrupt;  and  it  is  not  unlikely  that 
their  desire  was  to  return  to  some  older  faith 
upon   which   Buddhism    itself   was    founded.* 

*  It  is  curious  to  remark  in  Eastern  religions  how  fre- 
quently the  grotesque  borders  on  the  sublime.     According 

THE  JAINS.  201 

The  Jains  deny  the  divine  origin  of  Sakya 
Sinha  (Bnddha),  whom,  however,  they  deified 
after  death,  believing  him  to  have  been  a  most 
holy  man,  whose  mission  it  was,  not  to  found  a 
new  religion,  but  to  reform  the  abuses  which 
had  crept  into  one  already  existing. 

The  Jains  are  equally  sceptical  with  regard 
to  Brahmanism,  for  they  deny  the  divine  origin 
of  the  Vedas.  They  abhor  the  Homa,  or  burnt 
sacrifice,  so  dear  to  the  other  Hindoos,  alleging 
that  everything  thus  consumed  contains  animal 
life,  for  which  they  have  the  most  exaggerated 
respect.*     The  Jain  priest  walks  about  with  a 

to  the  Singhalese  belief,  their  great  teacher,  Buddha,  died 
of  eating  pork.  "  Buddha,  with  a  large  company  of  dis- 
ciples, came  to  Kusinagara,  in  Gorakpur,  and  encamped  in 
the  mango  garden  of  one  Chunda,  a  smitb.  The  worthy- 
smith  meant  to  be  hospitable,  and  served  up  pork.  It  was 
too  much  for  the  worn-out  frame  of  the  hoary  sage. 
Diarrhsea  ensued,  he  travelled  a  short  distance,  with  fre- 
quent stoppages,  but  at  last  being  unable  to  proceed,  a 
temporary  couch  was  provided  for  him  in  a  shadowy  grove. 
A  message  of  comfort  was  sent  to  the  poor  smith,  the  princes 
of  Malwa  were  summoned,  and  having  made  them  a  long 
speech,  he  ceased  to  exist." 

*  The  orthodox  Hindoo  has  also  a  great  horror  of  taking 
animal  life.  "  He  is  taught  that  God  inhabits  even  an 
insect ;  but  it  is  no  great  crime  if  he  should  permit  his  cow 
to  die  of  hunger  ;  and  he  beats  it  without  mercy.  It  is 
enough  that  he  does  not  really  deprive  it  of  life,  for  the  in- 
dwelling Brumhu  feels  no  shock  but  that  of  death.     For 

202       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

cloak  over  his  mouth,  lest  he  should  swallow 
small  insects,  and  carries  a  broom,  in  order  to 
eject  them  from  the  spot  on  which  he  chooses  to 
sit.  Another  tenet  which  distinguishes  them 
from  the  rest  of  the  Hindoos,  is  the  worship 
which  they  pay  to  a  certain  number  of  Jinas, 
or  deified  teachers,  who  they  imagine  have,  by 
constant  deeds  of  mortification  and  self-in- 
flicted torment,  attained  a  station  superior  to 
that  of  the  gods.  "  The  Jains  enumerate  by 
name  the  twenty-four  of  the  past  age,  the 
twenty-four  of  the  present,  and  the  twenty-four 
of  the  age  to  come."  A  Jaina  saint  is  called 
Lord  of  the  World,  Omniscient,  God  of  Gods — 
all  sorts  of  transcendent  names  are  bestowed 
upon  him.  He  has  certain  superhuman  attri- 
butes— beauty  of  form,  fragrance  of  body, 
the  white  colour  of  his  blood,  the  curling  of  his 
whiskers,  the  non-increase  of  the  beard  and 
nails,  his  exemption  from  all  natural  impurity, 
from  hunger  and  thirst,  from  infirmity  and 
decay,  and  so  on  through  a  long  list. 

The  back  of  his  head  is  surrounded  by  a 
halo  of  light,  brighter  than  the  disk  of  the  sun, 
and  for  an  immense  space  around  him.  Where- 
killing  a  few  small  insects  an  orthodox  Hindoo  must 
repeat  an  incantation  while  squeezing  his  nose  with  his 


ever  be  moved  there  is  neither  sickness  nor 
enmity,  death  nor  war.  The  Jain  reformers  in 
the  early  stage  of  their  history  were  austere  in 
their  lives,  and  practised,  as  well  as  inculcated, 
self-denial.  Their  zeal  was  great,  and  their  re- 
jection of  the  Brahmanical  system  of  caste 
drew  multitudes  after  them.  The  countless 
temples  scattered  throughout  the  land  bear 
silent  witness  to  the  power  they  attained,  and 
their  peculiar  ideas  are  wrought  upon  the  stones 
of  many  an  ancient  building  which  knows 
them  no  more.  Jainism  itself  became  in  time 
corrupt,  and  the  more  attractive  creed  of  the 
wily  Brahman  ultimately  prevailed.  The  sect 
now  numbers  but  a  few  hundred  thousand 
disciples,  who  are  chiefly  to  be  found  in  the  west 
of  India. 

The  Jains  have  an  extensive  and  independent 
literature  of  their  own,  but  do  not  profess  to 
have  any  inspired  writings.  They  are  among  the 
very  few  Orientals  who  have  adopted  any  sort 
of  armorial  bearings.  With  regard  to  their 
architecture,  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that 
neither  they  nor  the  other  Hindoos  have  any 
form  which  is  not  derived  from  that  of  the 
Buddhists.  The  oldest  remains  in  the  fort  are 
the  three  Jaina  temples,  which  are  very  curious 
and  beautiful.     Many  a  time  have  I  pictured  to 

204       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

myself  the  sacred  ceremonies  which  must  have 
attended  the  foundation  of  these  temples  of  an 
ancient  creed.     In  a  very  ancient  Hindoo  trea- 
tise upon  architecture,  of  which  only  fragments 
remain,  very  specific  directions  are  given  as  to 
the  manner   of  preparing  the  ground  for  the 
erection  of  a  temple.  "  It  is  to  be  ploughed — the 
form,   material,    size,   and   construction  of  the 
plough  are  prescribed,  even  the  oxen  that  are 
to  drag  it  are   selected  with  due  reference  to 
their  age,  shape  of  horns,  &c.     The    maimed, 
the  weak,  the  meagre,  the  toothless,  or  the  lame, 
must  be  rejected,  while  those  with  a  white  spot 
on  their  legs  and  foreheads,  with  eyes  resem- 
bling  the    petals    of    the     lotus,    are    to    be 
preferred.      They  are   to    be    decorated    with 
fillets  and   other   ornaments,  their  horns   and 
hoofs  with  gold  and  silver  rings.     The  architect, 
clad  in  fresh  vestments,  and  adorned  with  chap- 
lets  of  flowers,  having  ascertained  the  auspicious 
moment   for  the  duty,  draws  the  first  furrow 
with  due  religious  ceremonies.     The  ground  is 
sown  with  sesamum  seeds,  pulse,  and  kidney 
beans,   incantations    are    repeated,    and    oxen 
and    ploughs   are  presented    to    the   spiritual 
teacher.      When   the   crops   are  matured  they 
are  grazed  by  cows  for  one  or  two  nights,  and 


thus  purified,  the  ground  is  ready  for  the  future 

The  mode,  it  is  remarked,  for  ascertaining  the 
cardinal  points  is  striking  and  correct,  and  in 
principle  the  same  as  that  adopted  by  Euro- 
peans, when  they  wish  to  ascertain  a  meridian 

On  a  copper-plate  found  near  one  of  the  tem- 
ples was  engraved  the  name  and  titles  of  the 
Rajah  who  erected  it,  as  well  as  some  particu- 
lars relating  to  his  family.  Some  of  the  most 
interesting  sentences  run  as  follows  : 

"I  adore  Svarti  and  Siva  Buddha,  the  pre- 
server and  supporter  of  the  Jaina  religion, 
who  has  brought  under  his  rule  the  Devatas, 
the  Cow  Kamdheuna,  has  conquered  the  three 
passions,  the  soul  of  his  disciples,  whose  breast 
is  vast  comprehension  ....  Great  among  all 
kings,  who,  conquering  all  princes,  established 
his  throne  firmly ;  such  was  Sena  Rajah.  His 
son  was  Kartaviry,  the  great,  the  powerful,  the 
possessor  of  all  virtues,  the  renowned.  His 
spouse  was  the  beautiful  Padmalla-Devi,  orna- 
mented with  virtues.  Her  son  was  called 
Lakshmi-Bhee-Pati,  he  was  to  his  father  and 
mother  a "     Here  follow  the  names  of  many 

*  "  The  Land  of  the  Veda,"  by  the  Rev.  Peter  Percival. 

206       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

gods  and  warriors — "superior  even  to  these, 
of  higher  merit.  His  wife,  Chandala-Devi,  had 
two  sons  of  valour  and  liberality.  Into  the 
mind  of  this  Rajah  it  entered  to  perform  what 
would  make  him  renowned  among  those  of  this 
world.  In  full  enjoyment  of  his  kingdom,  when 
residing  at  Venegrama"  (Belgaum),  "in  peace 
and  happiness,  he  caused  to  be  erected  a  temple, 
in  which  were  installed  I're  Santnatha  Deva, 
and  the  protectors  of  the  eight  priests ;"  for 
the  maintenance  of  whom,  and  the  expenses  of 
their  annual  festival,  offerings  are  appointed  to 
be  made. 

Jaina  temples  are  built  according  to  a  general 
plan,  which  is  seldom  varied.  There  is  a  square 
hall,  or  naos,  generally  open  at  the  sides,  an 
inner  sala,  or  chamber,  an  oblong  ante-chamber 
and  a  small  square  cell,  in  which  the  idol  sits 
enthroned.  When  perfect,  it  is  believed  that 
every  one  of  these  erections  was  enclosed  by  an 
oblong  court,  with  pillared  colonnades,  set  with 
long  rows  of  shrines,  in  which  were  standing 
Jains,  or  squatted  Buddha-like  figures.  With 
the  exception  of  the  colonnades,  one  of  the 
temples  in  the  fort  is  quite  perfect,  and  is  con- 
sidered to  be  a  fine  specimen  of  its  kind  of 
architecture.  A  few  observations  respecting  its 
decorations,  as  illustrating  the  religious  notions 


of  the  sect,  if  not  very  interesting  to  the  general 
reader,  may  be  tolerated  for  their  bearing  on 
the  subject  of  which  we  treat. 

A  flight  of  steps  leads  up  to  the  hall,  which  is 
partially  enclosed  by  a  long  but  strong  balus- 
trade, and  roofed  in   by   an    expansive   dome 
of  great  beauty.     Circle  after  circle  of  concave 
lotus-flowers   reach  to  its  centre,  from   which 
hangs  a  magnificent  pendant  of  four  decreasing 
layers  of  lotus-flowers  and  leaves,  a  foot  apart 
from  one  another,  and  terminated  by  one  large 
blossom.    The  weight  of  such  an  ornament  could 
only  be  supported  in  a  dome  so  built  that  the 
pressure  is  horizontal  instead  of  perpendicular. 
Externally,  this  dome  is  covered  in  by  a  high 
pyramidal  stepped  roof,  the  front  of  each  step 
being  sculptured  with  the  sharp-cut  lotus-pat- 
tern.    The  weight  of  this  double  roof  must  be 
prodigious,  though  it  is  apparently  borne  by  an 
insignificant  number  of  pillars  of  no  great  size  ; 
but  relief  is  obtained  from  a  characteristic  em- 
ployment of  dwarf  pillars,  set  upon  the  balus- 
trades by  a  system  of  bracketing.     Some  of  the 
pillars  are  made  of  compact  black  basalt,  highly 
magnetic,  finely  polished,  and  unusual  in  form  ; 
others  are  of  the  description  generally  employed 
by  the  Jains,  of  which  there  are  hundreds  scat- 
tered about  Belgaum  and  its  immediate  neigh- 

208       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

bom-hood,  tall  shafts  of  stone,  with  four  equal 
sides,  ornamentally  carved.  Posts  are  cut  into 
sharp  rings  of  unequal  size,  separated  by  a 
cable  pattern,  and  occasionally  these  circles  are 
divided  by  a  wedge-shape  piece  of  the  original 
surface,  pointed  upwards.  Sometimes  a  smooth 
block  of  stone  is  left,  and  so  delicately  engraved 
with  rich  arabesques  that  the  patterns  almost 
appear  to  have  been  taken  from  needlework,  the 
embroidered  strips  of  stone  being  finished  off 
by  looped  fringes  of  hearts  and  heads.  Some- 
times the  loops  are  trebled,  and  have  tassels 
in  the  centre.  These  designs  are  very  elegant. 
The  roof  of  the  Sala  is  flat,  except  in  the 
very  centre,  where  it  is  raised  by  a  curious 
process.  In  the  middle  of  the  chamber  four 
pillars,  some  five  feet  apart,  support  architraves 
and  narrow  cornices,  leaving  a  square  space, 
which  has  been  diminished  by  two  layers  of 
overtopping  corner-stones,  until  it  could  have 
been  covered  by  a  single  flag.  Should  this 
have  been  the  case,  the  room  must  have  been 
in  total  darkness  when  the  door  giving  upon 
the  hall  was  closed.  From  immediately  under 
the  aperture  something  has  evidently  been  re- 
moved, as  the  earth  is  exposed.  Perhaps  some 
inferior  god  occupied  the  spot,  and  received  the 
passing  homage  of  the  devotees,  as  they  passed 

DOME  AND  HALL.  209 

round  it  on  their  way  to  the  cell.  It  was  not 
judged  respectful  to  approach  the  idol  in  a 
straight  line. 

The  hall  is  decorated  with  superb  and  cha- 
racteristic sculpture.    I  have  noticed  the  beauty 
of  the  dome,  but  not  that  of  the  octagonal  cor- 
nice on  which  it  rests.     In  each  division,  carved 
in   high   relief,  are  five   shrines,  with  stepped 
roofs,  in    every  one  of  which   squats  a  cross- 
legged,  Buddha-like  figure,*  while  between  each 
shrine,  and  under  a  canopy,  stands  an  upright 
naked  man.     These  figures  evidently  represent 
the  seventy-two  deified  Jains  of  the  past,  the 
present,  and  the  future.     In  each  angle  of  the 
octagon   is  a  bracket,  on  which  is  placed  the 
figure  of  a  divinity,  probably  "  the  protectors 
of  the  eight  points  "  referred  to  in  the  dedica- 
tion  plate.      Round   the   spring  of  the   dome 
eight   great   beasts,    with    chains    round   their 
stout  bodies,  jut  forth  ;  their  faces  have  been 
smashed  away  by  the  Mahomedan  Iconoclasts. 
They  are  most  likely  but  the  ornamented  ends 
of  supports  necessary  to  the  structure.     All  the 
doorways,  and  many  other  parts  of  the  temple, 
are  minutely  and  beautifully  carved  with  gro- 
tesque gods  and  mythical  animals,  which  peep 

*  The  figure  of  Buddha  himself  is  generally  represented 
with  fingers  and  toes  of  equal  length. 

VOL.  I.  P 

210       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

over  the  flowers,  and   sport  in  the  foliage  of 
sacred  plants. 

The  sculpture  in  the  Sala  is  evidently  of  an 
inferior  order,  and  is  chiefly  remarkable  for  the 
frequent  introduction  of  the  hooded  cobra,  life- 
size,  which  forms  the  brackets,  and  twines  round 
the  tops  of  the  pillars.  In  this  room  there  are 
four  large  un  ornamented  niches,  and  two  square 
recesses,  which  can  be  closed  by  sliding  stones, 
in  which  very  likely  the  sacred  vessels  were 

The  oblong  vestibule  is  perfectly  plain. 
Both  it  and  the  cell  are  in  darkness.  Not 
only  is  a  light  necessary  for  investigation, 
but  for  safety,  as  real  cobras  have  been  seen 
gliding  about  in  the  corners.  In  my  frequent 
visits  I  was  always  armed  with  a  candle  and  a 

The  once  sacred  cell  is  very  curious.  The 
image  is  gone,  but  there  stands  the  throne  on 
which  its  cold  limbs  once  rested.  (It  was  pro- 
bably a  cross-legged,  Buddha-like  figure.)  The 
platform,  which  is  oblong,  cut  into  angles,  and 
ornamented  by  zigzag  mouldings,  is  placed  upon 
two  elephants,  the  eyes  of  which,  made  of  some 
semi-transparent  stone,  still  glitter,  although 
they  have  looked  only  upon  darkness  for  centu- 
ries.    At  the  back  is  the  tasseled  cushion  which 


the  Jains  have  always  placed  behind  their 
idols.  Although  formed  of  black  basalt,  it  has 
a  look  of  wrinkled  softness,  as  if  the  god  had 
been  sufficiently  human  to  bend  his  back  and 
seek  occasional  repose.  On  each  side  sprang 
up  the  stem  of  a  tree,  which  diapered  the  wall 
with  strange  flowers,  sharp-pointed  leaves  set 
into  circles,  from  the  midst  of  which  depended 
long  bunches  of  weeds.  It  was  some  time  be- 
fore I  discovered  that  this  tracery  was  populated 
by  bands  of  sculptured  monkeys,  not  an  inch  in 
length  ;  and  in  one  place  appeared  a  mysterious 
arm  and  hand,  beating  a  drum.  It  was  very 
strange.  The  screen  was  stained  by  the  smoke 
of  incense ;  and  though  smoke  be  fleeting,  its 
traces  are  eminently  suggestive.  The  cell  has 
a  steep-stepped  roof,  which,  according  to  the 
universal  plan,  must  have  been  surmounted  by 
a  spire.  It  contains  a  chamber,  but  as  it  can 
now  only  be  reached  by  means  of  along  ladder, 
I  never  explored  it,  nor  did  I  ever  meet  with 
anyone  who  had  made  the  ascent.  I  believe 
that  some  way  to  it  exists  in  the  thickness  of 
the  wall.  I  never  visited  this  temple  without 
making  some  new  and  interesting  discovery. 

Of  the  second  temple,  an  enclosed  hall,  with 
flights  of  steps  which  lead  up  to  a  narrow 
portico,  alone  remain.     The   exterior   is  much 



ornamented  with  rows  of  dancing  figures, 
musicians,  and  sharp-cut  flowers.  Mr.  Burgess 
considers  this  remnant  to  be  a  remarkably  fine 
specimen  of  Jain  architecture  ;  and  I  congratu- 
late myself  in  having  been  instrumental  in  pro- 
longing its  existence.  The  treacherous  roots 
of  two  fig-trees  of  considerable  growth,  which 
had  fixed  themselves  firmly  upon  the  roof,  had 
already  overturned  at  least  a  ton  of  beautifully 
sculptured  stones,  when,  in  consequence  of  a 
piteous  appeal  to  the  proper  authorities,  they 
were  removed.  The  neglected  state  of  this 
building  is  one  of  a  thousand  instances  of  Eng- 
lish indifference  respecting  the  antiquities  of  a 
country  which  we  occupy — indeed,  it  owes  its 
very  existence  to  the  unromantic  fact  that  it 
is  used  as  a  Government  store-house  for  beer- 

The  third  temple,  judging  from  the  size  of 
the  hall,  which  alone  remains,  and  the  splendid 
sculpture  with  which  it  is  adorned,  must  have 
been  the  most  important  of  the  three.  The 
vicissitudes  of  its  latter  days  are  curious.  Some 
years  ago  the  part  that  at  present  remains  was 
built  into  a  bungalow.  What  a  cool  and  mag- 
nificent centre  apartment  must  it  have  made 
with  its  lofty  dome  and  wide  portals ;  but 
this   phase   of  its    existence  was  a  short   one. 

THE  MUS JID  S AF A .  213 

Belganm  ceased  to  be  a  division,  and  the 
general  and  his  staff  no  longer  inhabited 
the  fort.  The  anxious  year  of  the  Mutiny 
wrought  other  changes,  and  the  house,  with  all 
its  charms,  its  unrivalled  hall,  its  extensive  gar- 
den, the  pride  of  the  place,  and  its  stately 
avenue  of  palms,  was  deserted,  to  be  turned  by 
Government  into  a  patchery,  or  quarters  for 
married  soldiers.  The  old  Jaina  remains  are 
shunned  by  the  soldiers'  wives,  as  they  do  not 
like  their  gloomy  obscurity  even  by  day.  Its 
grim  black  carving  would  look  weird  indeed 
by  the  glimmer  of  a  single  lamp.  The  women 
even  imagine  the  bedrooms  above,  which  circle 
round  the  dome,  to  be  haunted,  and  refuse  to 
sleep  in  them.  I  am  not  quite  sure  that  the 
place  would  be  agreeable  to  many  by  moon- 
light, for  I  share  Madame  de  StaeTs  ideas  with 
regard  to  ghosts  :  "  Je  n'y  crois  pas,  mais  je  les 

In  the  arsenal  stands  the  Musjid  Safa,  the 
fine  mosque,  which  was  the  old  Khan's  gift  to 
the  fort  he  loved  so  well.  A  Persian  inscrip- 
tion, finely  cut  in  relief,  is  placed  above  the 
great  door.  "  In  the  time  of  Adil  Azam,  son  of 
Adzil  Khan,  a  man  of  high  rank,  who  bore  the 
palm  of  excellence  from  all  the  world,  of  good 
counsel,  the  aim  of  merit,  the  defender  of  the 

214       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

faith,  who  utterly  uprooted  the  unbeliever  from 
the  country  of  theDeccan  ;  Azid  Khan,  the  best 
of  upright  men,  built  this  house  of  God,  and  good 
fortune,  and  with  much  labour.  By  the  grace 
of  God  we  call  it  '  the  pure  mosque/  (Musjid 
Safa)  ;  and  the  lustre  of  the  religion  bf  the  Pro- 
phet grew  greater."  It  is  a  fine  building,  with 
stately  minarets.  Daylight  is  admitted  to  the 
interior  by  means  of  openings  cut  in  the  form 
of  intricate  geometrical  patterns,  pierced  in  thin 
slabs  of  stone.  In  front  of  the  edifice  is  a  tank, 
in  the  middle  of  which  stands  a  ruined  fountain. 
Affixed  to  the  eastern  wall  of  the  mosque  is  a 
small  square  platform,  which  was  used  by  the 
Khan  for  the  gymnastic  exercises,  in  which  he 
excelled.  It  is  said  that  he  could  jump  upon 
it  weighted  with  shoes  made  of  lead  and  iron, 
which  are  still  preserved  in  the  building,  along 
with  his  quilted  sabre-proof  vest.  His  sword 
was  stolen  from  the  temple  by  a  soldier  just 
before  the  Mutiny. 

Up  to  the  time  of  the  Mutiny,,  the  Musjid  was 
open  for  worship,  but  the  Mahomedans  availed 
themselves  of  its  shelter,  in  order  to  plot  trea- 
son against  the  English,  and  for  years  since 
that  time  it  has  remained  closed.  The  murder- 
ous designs  of  the  plotters  were  discovered. 
There   are,  or  ought  to  be,  three  keys  to  the 


great  padlock  which  secures  the  entrance.  One 
of  them  was  delivered  over  to  the  safe  keeping 
of  some  English  official,  who  lost  it,  another  to 
the  head  Mola  in  the  town  of  Belgaum,  and  the 
third  was  committed  to  the  care  of  the  head 
priest  in  Kolhapur. 

One  day,  however,  we  were  informed  by  a 
friend  that  an  application,  on  the  part  of  the 
Mussulman  population,  had  passed  through  his 
office,  praying  that  they  might  be  allowed  to 
resume  a  periodical  custom,  which  had  been 
suspended,  an  occasion  on  which  the  head  Mola, 
key  in  hand,  mounted  upon  a  camel,  and  head- 
ing a  procession,  had  been  wont  to  enter  the 
mosque,  and  repeat  a  certain  form  of  prayer. 
Permission  was  granted,  and  everyone  near  the 
arsenal  was  on  the  tip-toe  of  expectation — even 
the  old  Scotch  superintendent  of  the  stores  was 
thrown  into  a  state  of  excitement.  "  'Deed, 
ma'am,"  he  said,  "  all  the  years  that  I  have  been 
here  I  have  never  been  inside  the  mosque,  and 
I  would  like  to  see  the  Khan's  golden  chair." 
A  golden  chair,  that  was  a  new  and  delightful 
feature  in  the  cave.  We  kept  the  orderlies  upon 
the  look-out,  and  with  heated  faces  they  ran  to 
and  fro,  bearing  the  latest  news.  •'  The  briga- 
dier in  person  was  coming  ;  the  procession  was 
to  enter  the   fort   at   six   o'clock  precisely;  a 


native  company  "with  colours  had  arrived."  We 
stood  in  the  garden  ready  to  start.  Bullock- 
carts  came  hurrying  up,  laden  with  men  in 
resplendent  turbans  of  red  and  gold,  and  gold 
and  green ;  and  crowds  of  white-robed  pedes- 
trians, with  bags  full  of  flowers  under  their  arms, 
began  to  assemble  round  the  Musjid.  The 
clock  struck  six,  and  the  sound  was  followed  by 
intense  excitement.  Then  there  was  a  long 
pause.  Was  it  possible  that  the  people  were 
•silently  melting  away?  Improbable  as  it  ap- 
peared, it  was  too  true.  There  could  be  no 
ceremony  now — the  second  key  was  lost.  We 
afterwards  heard  considerable  indignation  ex- 
pressed at  the  idea  of  allowing  the  false  Maho- 
medans  ever  again  to  set  foot  in  the  mosque ; 
but  that  was  by  people  who  remembered  with  a 
shudder  the  anxiety  of  that  period,  when  the 
troops  were  known  to  be  wavering. 

The  natives  have  a  tradition,  to  which  they 
give  full  credit,  respecting  a  secret  passage, 
which,  they  affirm,  leads  from  under  the  Musjid 
to  the  Dhers'  (a  very  low  caste)  well,  a  mile  and 
a  half  away.  Why  it  should  be  supposed  to  ter- 
minate at  that  particular  spot,  1  know  not ;  but 
there  is  no  doubt  that  some  concealed  way  does 
exist  between  the  fort  and  the  open  country. 

The  people  have  also  a  firm  belief  in  the  ex- 


istence  of  a  concealed  treasure,  which  they  sup- 
pose to  be  buried  near  the  building,  but  do  not 
concern  themselves  much  respecting  it,  as  they 
imagine  it  to  be  guarded  by  gnomes,  or  malig- 
nant spirits,  who  would  cruelly  kill  anyone  who 
attempted  to  take  possession  of  it.  There  is  no 
doubt  that  a  considerable  quantity  of  jewels, 
gold,  and  silver,  was  either  smuggled  away  or 
buried  in  the  fort,  when  it  was  surrendered  to 
the  English.  Sums  of  money  have  more  than 
once  been  granted  by  Government  for  the  insti- 
tution of  a  search,  but  as  yet  nothing  has  been 
found.  The  quantity  of  money  concealed  in  the 
earth  by  the  Indian  people  was  one  reason  why 
gold  was  withdrawn  from  the  currency.  When 
a  jewel  robbery  occurs,  the  police  immediately 
repair  to  the  dwellings  of  suspected  parties,  and 
water  the  floors  of  the  houses  and  grounds  about 
them,  a  sure  way,  in  this  climate,  of  ascertaining 
if  the  soil  has  been  recently  disturbed. 

I  must  mention  a  most  curious  relic  which 
lies  within  the  arsenal.  It  is  a  block  with  three 
legs,  exactly  resembling  an  ordinary  butcher's 
block.  It  is  cut  in  one  piece  out  of  hard  iron- 
stone, and  its  weight  must  be  prodigious.  On 
one  of  the  legs  there  is  an  appearance  which 
seems  to  indicate  that  it  terminated  in  a  claw. 
In  the  centre  of  the  block  there  is  a  round  hole, 

218       MY  TEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

large  enough  to  allow  the  head  of  a  goat  to 
pass  through  it.  Solid  as  is  the  substance,  it  is 
much  corrugated  by  time,  for  it  has  every  ap- 
pearance of  being  wonderfully  old.  Some 
people  suppose  it  to  have  been  a  sacrificial 
table,  used  by  the  aboriginal  tribes  who  inhabited 
the  deep  jungles,  which,  until  an  almost  recent 
period,  covered  this  part  of  the  Deccan. 

One  of  the  most  interesting  ruins  of  the  Ma- 
homedan  period  existing  in  the  fort  is  a  ruined 
gateway  of  great  size,  under  which  passed  the 
road  that  led  from  the  main  gate  to  the  palace. 
The  fine  pointed  archway,  with  battlemented 
top,  is  flanked  by  wings  set  with  smaller  arches. 
On  its  summit  the  naubat,  a  large  kettle-drum, 
was  struck  at  stated  hours,  and  on  it  salutes 
were  played.  Not  less  time-hallowed  and  sug- 
gestive of  the  period,  is  a  beautiful  tomb,  with 
dome  and  minarets,  which,  shaded  by  lofty 
trees,  stands  on  a  little  maidan,  or  green,  close 
to  our  domain.  Elegant  little  memorial  stones, 
wrought  with  verses  from  the  Koran,  in  Persian 
characters,  are  scattered  around  it.  Would 
that  I  could  have  painted  some  of  the  pictur- 
esque figures  which  I  have  seen  grouped  about 
this  spot.  One  scene  is  particularly  impressed 
upon  my  memory.  The  sky  was  intensely  blue, 
all  around  was  bathed  in  such  glorious  sunshine 


as  brings  happiness  with  it.  I  looked  up  from 
my  book.  A  large  black  elephant,  munching 
its  sugar-cane  breakfast,  stood  in  relief  against 
the  tender  grey  walls  of  the  mosque  tomb.  Its 
driver,  a  wild-looking  being,  with  streaming 
locks,  was  leaning  upon  his  goad,  whilst  over- 
head a  golden  nikure,  one  mass  of  flame- 
coloured  flowers,  relieved  with  feathery  foliage 
of  leaden  green,  threw  out  its  horizontal  limbs, 
and  formed  a  right  royal  canopy.  Sometimes  a 
pilgrim  from  over  the  sea,  with  staff  in  hand, 
long  rows  of  beads  which  had  been  blessed  at 
Mecca,  and  flowing  beard  of  orange  tinge,  would 
steal  into  the  shade,  mutter  a  short  prayer  over 
the  bones  of  the  saint  whose  fame  had  reached 
his  ears,  and  pass  on  his  restless  way.  In  mo- 
ments of  idle  reverie,  I  used  to  think  what  a 
Paradise  I  could  make  of  the  old  fort,  if  it  were 
my  own  property,  and  suddenly  wake  up  to 
the  conviction  that  the  improver's  hand  would 
but  destroy  what,  in  its  present  state  of  partial 
decay  and  neglect,  is  ideally  perfect. 



Trees  in  the  Fort — Consecration  of  Trees — The  Banyan- 
Tree — A  Patriarch  of  the  Forest — Peepul-Trees — 
The  India-Rubber  Tree — Ficus  Glomerata — Strange 
Peculiarity  of  Plants — Lofty  Cotton-Tree — The  Ja- 
inun — The  Champai — The  Cocoa-Nut  Palm — The 
Soap-Nut  Tree — Sandal- Wood  Tree — Acacia  Arabica, 
or  Babool  of  India — The  Golden  Mhune — Eucalypti. 

WE  had  in  the  fort  a  great  variety  of  fine 
timber-trees  and  beautiful  shrubs.  Some 
of  them,  which  were  rare  in  this  part  of  the 
Deccan,  had  been  brought  to  the  little  oasis,  and 
assiduously  cultivated  in  its  golden  age.  In 
India  the  ramifications  of  certain  vegetable 
families  appear  to  be  interminable.  It  is  only 
possible  to  notice  a  few  of  the  most  prominent 
specimens.  Having  plenty  of  time  at  my  dis- 
posal, I  amused  myself  with  preparing  a  collec- 
tion of  leaves  and  flowers  for  a  sister  at  home. 
Had  I  commenced  with  a  fair  knowledge  of 
botany,  I  should  have  derived  much  more 
pleasure  from  the  pursuit ;  but  even  learning  a 


few  of  their  properties,  and  the  native  legends 
attaching  to  them,  was  entertaining. 

Trees  are  worshipped  by  the  Hindoos,  as  the 
forms  of  particular  gods.  They  receive  divine 
honours,  and  are  set  apart  with  the  same  cere- 
monies as  are  common  at  the  setting  up  of  the 
gods.  Any  individual  who  consecrates  a  tree 
says,  "  Oh  !  Vishnu,"  or  "  Shiva,  grant  that  for 
planting  this  tree  I  may  continue  as  many 
years  in  Heaven  as  this  tree  shall  remain  grow- 
ing in  the  earth.  Grant  that  as  I  have  set 
apart  this  tree  to  afford  shade  to  my  fellow- 
creatures,  so  after  death  I  may  not  be  scorched 
by  excessive  heat  when  I  journey  to  Yama,  the 
region  of  death."  There  are  six  trees  which 
are  particularly  sacred,  and  are  never  cut  down 
or  burnt  by  devout  Hindoos — namely,  ficus 
Indica,  mimusops  elengi,  terminalia  citrina, 
philanthus  emblica,  melia  azodaracta,  ogle 
marmelos ;  most  of  which  bear  odoriferous 

The  most  sacred  of  them  all  is  the  banyan 
(ficus  Indica),  of  which  we  had  a  noble  speci- 
men. Its  furrowed  bole  was  composed  of  many 
stems,  welded  together  ages  ago ;  and  its  top 
formed  a  vault  of  verdure.  This  tree  appeared 
to  have  long  lost  its  tendency  to  throw  down 
aerial  roots,   which  had  most  likely  been  cut 

222       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

£,way,  possibly  by  the  conquering  Mussulmans, 
for  no  Hindoo  would  thus  have  maimed  the  tree. 
The  banyan  attains  great  length  of  days,  one 
being  pointed  out  near  the  Nerbuddha,  under 
the  shade  of  which  Alexander  is  said  to  have 
slept.  It  may  be  so,  for  according  to  some 
botanists  these,  and  other  patriarchs  of  the 
forests,  are  but  aggregates  of  buds  annually 
succeeding  on  the  stem,  which  represents  a 
living  soil.  Savants  even  go  so  far  as  to  say 
that  in  the  wilds  of  Africa  there  are  trees 
which  are  five  thousand  years  old.  The  wood 
is  very  astringent,  and  much  used  in  Hindoo 
medicine  ;  and  its  soothing  juice  is  said  to  be 
good  for  the  toothache.  It  is  also  made  into 
bird-lime.  Nor  must  we  forget  that,  according 
to  Milton,  this  was  the  fig  which  grew  in  Para- 
dise, the  leaves  of  which  were  also  taken  to 
clothe  our  first  parents.  We  had  also  the 
child-bearing  fig  (also  ficus  lndicd)  the  aerial 
roots  of  which  were  less  decided  and  not  so 
numerous  as  those  of  the  banyan.  The  women 
worship  it,  and  eat  the  berries  with  which  its 
tender  branches  are  studded,  as  round  as  mar- 
bles, and  as  red  as  coral. 

Set  down  amongst  the  scattered  foundations 
of  some  building  which  probably  they  had  been 
instrumental  in  destroying,  were  a  row  of  pee- 


pul-trees  (jicus  religiosa),  the  roots  of  which 
are  very  destructive,  if  once  they  attain  a  foot- 
ing in  the  chinks  of  masonry.  It  is  an  exceed- 
ingly sacred  tree,  and  is  to  be  found  fenced  round 
by  a  platform  in  every  Hindoo  village.  Women 
especially  venerate  it,  because  they  believe  that 
Vishnu  was  born  under  its  shade.  Beneath  it 
they  perform  the  ceremonies  succeeding  child- 
birth ;  and  they  use  its  sticky  juice  for  smooth- 
ing their  hair.  It  attains  a  great  height,  but 
the  foliage  is  quivering,  and  not  effective. 
Though  the  leaf  is  pretty  in  its  bright  green 
youth,  it  soon  assumes  a  dull  tint.  It  is  heart- 
shaped,  and  the  mid  rib  is  prolonged  into  a 
softish  spike,  which  extends  a  couple  of  inches. 
The  wood  yields  caoutchouc.  In  Ceylon  it  is 
called  the  bo-tree.  Sir  Emmerson  Tennant 
mentions  one  which,  on  documentary  evidence, 
he  believes  to  have  been  planted  two  hundred 
and  twenty-eight  years  before  Christ.  The 
Buddhists  adore  this  tree,  as  they  believe  that 
their  great  teacher,  Sakiya,  was  reclining  under 
it  when  he  underwent  his  apotheosis.  The 
most  aspiring  of  all  the  tribe  is  the  india-rub- 
ber tree  (Jicus  elastica),  with  its  long  glossy 
leaves  and  crimson  capsules.  It  was  strange, 
whilst  looking  up  at  its  gigantic  limbs,  to  recall 
the  little  plants   of  the  same  description,  fur- 

224       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

nisbed  with  half  a  dozen  leaves,  often  so  care- 
fully tended  in  England;  still  the  great  rosy- 
shoots  had  a  familiar  appearance.  One  of  the 
remarkable  points  of  this  tree  is  its  manner  of 
throwing  out  prodigiously  long  spurs,  which 
stretch  along  the  ground  in  ridges  of  more  than 
a  foot  in  height. 

The  ficus  glomerata  was  another  very  con- 
siderable tree,  which  bore  a  profusion  of  fruit, 
in  appearance  much  resembling  the  small  Eng- 
lish fig ;  but  though  its  flavour  is  unpleasant,  it 
is  eaten  by  the  natives.  In  the  bearing  season 
it  gives  forth  a  strong,  sickly  perfume,  which 
is  most  disagreeable. 

There  were  numbers  of  tamarind-trees,  par- 
ticularly two  giants  in  our  own  garden.  The 
skeleton  bears  some  resemblance  to  that  of  a 
large  elm,  but  as  if  for  the  sake  of  contrast,  its 
gnarled  and  far-stretching  limbs  are  clothed 
with  leaflets  of  the  most  delicate  fern  and 
tenderest  green,  fine  as  those  of  a  sensitive  plant, 
which  they  much  resemble.  The  huge  corru- 
gated bole  teems  with  animal  life,  and  its  lofty 
crown  is  the  delightful  abode  of  numerous  birds, 
whilst  orchids  and  ferny  plants  cling  to  the 
rough  bark,  and  plant  themselves  in  its  inter- 
stices. The  blossom  is  insignificant,  and  the 
pod  is  many  months  before  it  reaches  maturity. 
The   wood    is   beautiful,   but   it    is   not   often 


used  by  cabinet-makers,  for  its  exceeding  hard- 
ness makes  it  difficult  to  work.  It  yields  a  gum 
called  kuteera.  The  bole  is  often  hollow,  which 
I  should  not  have  observed,  had  I  not  occasion- 
ally seen  trees  pierced  by  neatly  scooped  little 
arches,  which  allowed  the  eye  to  penetrate  into 
their  interior.  This  was  the  work  of  the  Hin- 
doos, who  enthroned  their  divinities  within 
them.  I  could  not  but  picture  to  myself  the 
strange  appearance  which  the  copper  idol,  sur- 
rounded by  lights  and  garlanded  with  flowers, 
would  present,  squatting  in  this  shrine  of 
Nature's  own  handiwork.  That  curious  pheno- 
menon, the  sleep  of  plants,  was  first  observed  in 
India  in  the  tamarind-tree,  by  Garcias  de  Horto, 
in  1567,  but  it  was  not  understood  until  de- 
monstrated by  Linnaeus.  The  natives  have  an 
idea  that  the  tamarind  renders  the  neighbour- 
hood of  the  spot  where  it  grows  unwholesome, 
but  many  plants  which  we  planted  about  its 
roots  grew  luxuriantly.* 

*  Plants  are  very  innocent,  and  easily  taken  in.  By 
throwing  a  bright  light  upon  those  of  a  sensitive  nature 
during  the  night,  and  placing  them  in  darkness  during  the 
day,  the  botanist,  Decandolle,  succeeded  in  changing 
their  habit  so  far  that  they  closed  up  their  leaflets,  and 
slept  the  sunny  hours  away,  while  they  opened  them  to  the 
artificial  light  thrown  upon  them,  when  others  of  their  kind 
were  slumbering. 

VOL.  I.  Q 


The  tree  which  was  our  boast,  in  point  of 
height,  was  a  cotton-tree,  said  to  be  the  tallest 
for  miles  around.  When  first  I  saw  its  ungrace- 
ful limbs  they  were  bare ;  the  cylindrical  bole  had 
a  smoothish  bark,  thickly  studded  with  sharp 
thorns,  broad  at  the  base,  and  nearly  an  inch 
long.  Nature  had  taken  extra  care  to  guard 
its  produce.  The  great  blood-red  flowers  came 
forth  with  a  glow  of  colour,  but  the  blossom, 
pulpy  and  coarse,  will  not  bear  examination. 
The  long  thick  pod,  which  in  due  time  burst 
and  poured  forth  an  amazing  quantity  of  soft, 
silky,  cream-coloured  cotton,  appeared  to  be 
composed  of  a  flat  circular  membrane,  with  a 
tiny  hole  in  the  centre,  from  which  a  seed  had 
fallen  ;  but  it  was  not  easy  to  capture  this  sub- 
stance, which  was  so  light  that  it  fled  before 
the  outstretched  hand.  The  hedges  and  fields 
were  covered  so  thickly  with  it  that  they 
looked  as  if  the  old  woman  had  been  plucking 
geese  for  a  month.  This  cotton  is  unfortunately 
too  short  in  the  stopple  to  be  worked  up,  and  is 
therefore  of  very  little  value — a  remark  which 
is  equally  applicable  to  many  other  cotton-pro- 
ducing shrubs  and  plants  which  grow  in  the 
Deccan.  The  women  make  pillows  of  it,  and 
bring  them  about  for  sale,  offering  a  large  one 
for  a  shilling.     It  is  also  quilted  into  the  gar- 


merits  which  the  natives  wear  during  the  rains. 
It  has  a  handsome  leaf,  composed  of  five  deeply 
indented  fingers,  which  spring  from  a  main  rib. 

The  jamun,  a  very  ornamental  tree,  pro- 
ducing large  timber,  has  bright  glossy  leaves, 
something  like  those  of  the  beech.  It  bears 
bunches  of  purple  fruit,  something  like  grapes, 
but  with  a  stone  in  the  middle ;  but  in  spite  of 
their  tempting  appearance,  they  were  aban- 
doned to  the  boys  and  birds.  We  had  also  the 
so-called  Belgaum  walnut  (Aleurites  Triloba), 
introduced  into  India  from  the  Society  Islands. 
The  fine-coloured  large  leaves  are  three  or  five 
lobed,  and  the  young  foliage  is  covered  with  a 
mealy  substance,  which  gives  it  a  peculiar 
metallic  appearance.  It  bears  spikes  of  white 
flowers,  and  when  the  fruit  is  full-grown,  it 
resembles  a  large  unripe,  white-dusted  apri- 
cot. Two  nuts  are  contained  in  the  husk. 
I  have  often  picked  them  up,  but  have  never 
tasted  them.  The  natives  say  that  when  'fresh 
they  are  very  unwholesome,  and  require  to  be 
kept  for  a  year  before  they  are  eaten.  The 
tree,  however,  is  valuable,  on  account  of  these 
kernels,  which  yield  above  fifty  per  cent,  of  fine 
clear  oil. 

There  were  some  young  but  tall  trees,  which 
we  took  to  be  mangoes,  until  suddenly  one  of 


228       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

them  put  forth  a  quantity  of  petallated  flowers 
of  the  purest  yellow,  when  it  proved  to  be  the 
champac  (michella  champaca),  a  species  which  is 
highly  estimated  by  the  Hindoos.  They  cele- 
brate its  charms  in  their  poetry,  and  will  beg, 
steal,  and  even  buy  the  blossoms  at  a  high 
price ;  for  they  believe  that  their  overpower- 
ingly  sweet  perfume  is  particularly  acceptable 
to  their  gods.  I  was  obliged  to  discard  a  hand- 
ful brought  into  my  room,  and  the  scent  still 
clings  to  a  blotting-book  into  which  I  put  one 
of  the  flowers.  The  Buddhists  also  hold  this 
tree  to  be  sacred,  and  reserve  its  wood  to  make 
from  it  images  of  Sakiya  (Buddha). 

We  possessed  a  cluster  of  the  cocoa-nut  palm, 
the  most  elegant  of  all  the  tribe.  We  were 
proud  of  the  half-dozen  nuts  they  bore,  for 
their  production  proved  that  we  were  within 
the  influence  of  the  sea  breeze.  Scattered 
about  were  many  Palmyra-trees,  but  several  of 
them  were  past  their  prime.  The  cylindrical 
stem,  a  little  wide  at  the  base,  was  set  so  firmly 
upon  the  ground,  without  visible  roots,  that  it 
always  reminded  me  of  a  Doric  column — all  the 
more  so  as  it  grew  in  joints  of  about  a  foot 
high,  which  might  well  have  been  taken  for 
smooth-tooled  stones.  The  strings  of  seeds 
which  burst   from    the    huge   pods,   sweeping 


down  until  they  attained  a  length  of  more  than 
ten  feet,  were  their  greatest  beauty.  At  first 
the  threads  were  very  delicate  and  green,  as 
they  swayed  about,  making  me  think  what 
mermaids'  hair  might  be  like.  The  seeds,  set 
in  groups  of  three  on  alternative  sides  of  the 
thread,  were  at  first  very  small,  but  they  swell- 
ed until  they  were  as  large  as  marbles.  The 
trees  then  became  black  and  ugly,  and  were 
hacked  down.  So  heavy  had  they  then  become, 
that  it  took  three  men  to  lift  one  of  them  into 
the  refuse  cart. 

We  were  fortunate  enough  to  have  a  soap- 
nut  tree  (Sapindacea),  which  had  a  soft,  bright 
green  leaf,  with  a  downy  brown  stem,  and  bore 
spiked  heads  of  little  pale  flowers,  which  fructi- 
fied into  nuts,  sold  by  the  ounce  in  the  bazaars. 
The  husk  of  these  nuts  is  the  valuable  part. 
Soaked  in  tepid  water,  it  forms  a  lather,  which 
is  employed  with  good  effect  in  cleaning  silks, 
washing  flannels,  and  restoring  the  colour  of 
wroollen  garments. 

The  sandal,  growing  in  every  hedge  and 
compound,  is  a  thin,  straggling  tree,  with  dis- 
torted limbs,  and  is  described  as  a  species  of 
myrtle.  The  leaves,  which  are  small,  pointed, 
and  shiny,  are  symmetrically  arranged  on  each 
side  of  a  slender  stem.     The  fragrant  branches 

230      MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

fetch  a  high  price,  as  all  classes  desire  the 
sweet-scented  boughs  for  the  celebration  of 
their  funeral  rites.  Notwithstanding  this,  how- 
ever, the  tree  bears  an  evil  reputation  with  the 
fanciful  natives.  I  met  with  the  following  de- 
scription of  it  in  the  translation  of  a  remnant  of 
an  ancient  Hindoo  treatise  upon  timber  :  "  The 
root  is  infested  by  serpents,  the  blossoms  by 
bees,  the  branches  by  monkeys,  the  summit  by 
bears — in  short,  there  is  not  a  part  of  the  sandal- 
tree  that  is  not  occupied  by  the  vilest  impuri- 
ties." In  spite,  however,  of  this  list  of  evils, 
the  sandal-wood  is  so  remunerative  that  the 
Forest  Commissioners  of  this  Presidency  are 
about  to  make  regular  plantations  of  it  on  a 
plan  which  has  been  tried  with  success  in 

Under  the  names  of  Acacia  Arabica,  or  Babool 
of  India,  I  was  not  prepared  to  meet  with  my 
old  friend,  bearing  the  tiny  powdery  yellow 
balls,  which  at  Cannes  sell  for  forty  francs  the 
pound ;  yet  there  it  was,  set  with  sharp  thorns, 
and  growing  wild  in  our  compound.  It  was  by 
no  means  so  luxuriant  as  its  better  cultivated 
sister  in  the  south  of  France,  yet  the  flowers 
had  even  a  sweeter  perfume,  and  nothing  could 
exceed  the  delicacy  of  the  sensitive  leaves.  I 
could  not  succeed  in  pressing  them  with  any 


good  result,  for,  like  those  of  a  true  Mirnsea, 
they  shut  up  the  moment  they  were  touched. 
The  blossom  in  this  country  is  appreciated  only 
by  the  natives,  to  whom  every  sickly  perfume 
is  agreeable,  and  who  offer  them  up  in  the 
temples.  The  rough  crooked  branches  over- 
flow with  gum,  which  is  eagerly  collected  in 
the  jungles,  and  its  pods  of  tree  are  greedily 
devoured  by  sheep  and  goats. 

In  addition  to  those  I  have  named,  we  had 
two  trees  and  a  shrub  of  unrivalled  beauty,  a 
glorious  trio.  The  first  in  the  year  to  flower 
was  one  of  many  champac,  a  kind  of  magnolia, 
about  twenty  feet  high.  When  bare,  the  stiff- 
ness of  its  skeleton  is  remarkable,  the  boughs, 
which  branch  out  at  right  angles,  being  incapa- 
ble of  a  curve  or  an  inclination.  The  flowers, 
which  are  delightfully  fragrant,  come  out  iu 
clusters,  thousands  of  the  narrow-petalled, 
vellum-like  blossoms,  white  at  the  tips,  but 
gradually  assuming  a  hue  which  I  can  only 
liken  to  that  of  a  golden  sunset.  The  long, 
pointed,  lance-like  leaves  soon  mingle  with  the 
flowers,  and  when  the  latter  pass  away  the 
foliage  is  very  fine. 

In  the  month  of  March  the  whole  country  is 
ablaze  with  the  flame-coloured  blossoms  of  the 
golden  Mhune,   a    tree  which   is  a  native    of 

232       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

South  America,  and  has  not  been  acclimatized 
in  India  above  fifteen  years.  I  have  not  yet 
become  acquainted  with  its  proper  name.  Its 
growth  resembles  that  of  the  cedar,  but  its 
horizontal  limbs,  which  have  a  slight  dip,  are 
covered  with  the  most  exquisite  foliage,  fine  as 
that  of  the  sensitive  plants,  and  large  as  the 
plumes  of  an  ostrich,  waving  about,  in  varied 
tints  of  green.  The  leaflets  fold  themselves 
together,  and  sleep  away  the  dark  hours  ;  the 
candelabrum,  whose  blossoms  produce  a  most 
splendid  effect,  maintains  its  beauty  all  the  year 
round.  The  Poinsettia,  a  very  large,  spreading 
shrub,  which  bears  during  the  cold  season,  is  a 
native  of  Mexico.  The  cluster  of  little  yellow 
balls,  which  first  appear,  are  soon  surrounded 
by  bags  of  pointed  crimson-scarlet  leaves,  of 
unequal  length.  Nothing  can  be  more  superb 
than  this  flower,  seen  by  the  light  of  a  tropical 
moon,  when  its  lurid  colour  is  bathed  in  the 
luminous  atmosphere.  This  is  the  plant  which 
adds  so  greatly  to  the  splendour  of  the  gardens 
of  the  Ttij  at  Agra,  where  it  grows  to  perfec- 
tion. Further  north  than  that  it  does  not 
flourish.  It  is  a  sticky  plant  to  touch ;  its 
foliage  of  fine  pointed  pale  green  leaves  is  very 
handsome,  and  it  is  full  of  a  white  milk,  which 
yields   gum.     It  is   not  unusual  to  see  whole 


avenues  of  this  shrub.  We  had  a  number  of 
Eucalypti  in  our  garden,  and  all  about  the  neigh- 
bourhood, planted  with  the  idea  of  purifying 
the  air.  In  Algeria  they  were  cultivated  with 
success.  I  have  seen  many  of  tolerably  large 
growth,  which  had  been  planted  where  lakes 
had  been  drained,  and  where  ground  which  had 
lain  fallow  for  a  thousand  years  had  been  put 
under  cultivation,  but  they  will  not  flourish  in 
the  high  table-lands  of  the  Deccan.  The  only 
specimen  in  the  fort  which  appeared  to  be 
healthy  was  one  in  our  garden,  so  placed  as  to  be 
constantly  irrigated,  and  consequently  growing 
with  amazing  rapidity. 

The  eucalyptus  has  been  extensively  planted 
by  Government  in  the  Cannara  jungles,,  but 
I  was  told  by  one  of  the  Forest  Commissioners 
that  the  experiment  had  failed.  It  is  an  ugly 
tree,  with  small  oval  blue-green  leaves,  which 
grow  so  close  to  the  branches  that  they 
cannot  be  separated  from  them  without  being 
torn,  in  which  case  they  emit  a  powerful  aro- 
matic odour,  the  medicinal  qualities  of  which 
are  considered  to  be  valuable  in  cases  of  fever. 
The  eucalyptus  is  the  true  monarch  of  the 
forest  kingdom.  In  the  almost  untrodden 
regions  of  Australia  trees  have  been  met  with 
that   surpass    in    size    even   the    Wellingtonia 

234       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

Gigantea.  Ferdinand  Midler,  the  botanist, 
says  that  trees  of  the  species  eucalyptus  amyg- 
dalina,  four  hundred  and  eighty  feet  in  length, 
were  met  with  lying  on  the  ground ;  a  fact  per- 
fectly confirmed  by  the  statement  of  Mr.  George 
Robins,  who  saw  in  the  mountains  of  Berwick 
one  of  those  trees  standing,  which  had,  near  the 
ground,  a  circumference  of  eighty-one  feet,  and 
the  height  of  which  he  estimated  at  five  hundred 
feet.  This  eucalyptus,  therefore,  could  over- 
shadow the  great  pyramid  of  Egypt,  and  the 
spire  of  Strasbourg  Cathedral,  for  the  former  is 
only  four  hundred  and  eighty  feet  in  height,  and 
the  latter  four  hundred  and  sixty-six. 



Our  Bungalow — Building  in  India — Anglo-Indian  Words 
— Beautiful  Floral  Display — Tameness  of  Bird  and 
Beast — Buffaloes — Our  Establishment  of  Servants — 
Butler  and  Cook— The  Puttah  WaUee— The  Malee, 
or  Head-Gardener — Frequent  Demands  for  Holidays 
— Want  of  Privacy — Pretended  Christians — Expenses 
of  the  Table — Grafting  of  Mangoes — Provisions,  Fruit, 
and  Wine. 

OUR  bungalow,  a  charming  residence,  consist- 
ed entirely  of  a  ground  floor,  the  construc- 
tion of  which  always  reminded  me  of  a  French 
church.  The  lofty  drawing-room  had  a  rounded 
end,  the  long  dining-room  crossed  it,  and 
through  the  vestibule  were  seen  the  stout  pil- 
lars set  upon  square  bases,  which  supported  the 
southern  verandah  and  the  lofty  porch.  The 
sacristies  were  numerously  represented  by  the 
bedrooms,  which  ran  along  the  sides  of  tho 
house.  The  building  was  almost  entirely  en- 
closed by  wide  verandahs,  delightful  places  of 
resort,  always  shady,  but  never  gloomy  ;  and 
the   whole   was   packed  under  a   high-pitched 


roof  of  tiles,  which  swept  down  to  within  some 
ten  feet  of  the  ground. 

Large  as  the  house  was,  we  had  to  add  to  it, 
and  I  watched  the  erection  of  what  were  to  be 
my  own  quarters,  with  much  interest.  The 
new  rooms  were  built  of  great  square  blocks  of 
calasite,  and  every  morning  there  came  some 
wonderful  old  women,  with  metal  ornaments, 
and  blue  savis  with  red  borders,  who  had 
pestles  two  yards  in  height,  with  which  they 
pounded  away  at  a  quantity  of  lime  and  fine 
sand,  wiiich  was  to  form  the  flooring.  This  the 
builder  called  chunam,  but  the  true  chunam, 
which  is  much  used  in  Eastern  houses,  is  made 
of  white  shells,  reduced  to  an  almost  impalpable 
powder,  which  is  made  into  plaster,  and  pro- 
duces a  most  brilliant  effect. 

The  old  ladies,  who  always  arrived  with 
the  dawn,  reminded  me  of  Michael  Angelo's 
three  fates ;  and  as  they  worked  they  used  at 
first  to  chant  in  parts,  probably  some  old  his- 
tory, which  effectually  scared  away  my  slum- 
bers. I  was  obliged  to  learn  the  magic  word 
which  meant  in  English  "  Hold  your  tongue  \" 
which,  after  it  was  hurled  at  them,  silenced 
them  for  ever.  I  trust,  however,  that  it  might 
have  had  a  milder  signification  in  Mahratta. 

In  my  ignorance  I  was  all  astonishment  at  see- 


ing  two  dark  brown  boys,  clad  in  little  beyond 
the  sacred  thread,  but  decked  out  in  silver 
bracelets,  anklets,  earrings,  and  relic-boxes, 
perched  on  my  skeleton  roof,  and  putting  on 
the  tiles.  A  canvas  ceiling  was  spread,  but 
not  until  there  had  been  much  delay  in  conse- 
quence of  the  unpunctuality  of  the  dersei  (tailor) 
who  had  to  stitch  it  together.  This  man,  in 
consequence  of  a  death  in   his   family,   had  a 

half-grown  beard,  and  G used  periodically 

to  threaten  to  shave  him  if  he  did  not  get  on 
with  his  work,  a  penalty  the  infliction  of  which 
would  have  entailed  upon  him  dire  disgrace. 

Then  the  builders  cleared  out,  and  were  suc- 
ceeded by  a  band  of  women  who  brought  large 
bundles  of  prepared  palm  strips  which  they 
wove  into  smooth,  sweet-scented  matting, 
forming  a  pattern  by  introducing  strips  of 
different  colours.  They  brought  with  them 
black  babies  with  unnaturally  large  eyes, 
who  rolled  about  in  a  corner,  and  sucked 
guavas.  I  used  to  watch  these  women,  who 
were  very  young  (possibly  not  above  thirteen 
or  fourteen),  wonder  at  the  dexterity  with 
which  they  used  their  flexible  toes,  and 
admire  their  pretty  round  arms,  which  were 
tattooed  so  completely  that  they  looked  as  if 
covered   with  fine   lace.     The   sight  of   them 


seemed  to  make  intelligible  the  words  of  Goethe, 
when  he  said,  "  The  painting  and  tattooing  of 
the  body  is  a  return  to  animalism." 

When  they  vanished,  I  took  possession  of  my 
pleasant  chamber,  with  its  dressing  and  bath- 
room. It  had  a  large  glass  door,  opening  into 
the  verandah,  a  French  window,  with  a  low 
seat,  and  two  cottage  windows,  which  gave 
upon  the  garden.  I  felt  it  strange  to  leap  out 
upon  the  tropical  vegetation.  Some  of  the 
great  arum  leaves,  bronzed,  or  soft  as  velvet, 
lobed  and  pointed,  were  a  yard  in  length  ;  and 
there  was  a  palmesettia,  covered  with  crimson 
blossoms,  through  which  the  fine-pointed  green 
leaves  were  seen.  There  was  also  the  amaran- 
this,  with  its  superb  golden  flower,  which  I  had 
only  previously  seen  in  store-houses.  The 
stephanalis  was  near,  for  its  sweet  perfume  was 
wafted  into  the  chamber.  Then  there  were 
large  pyramids  of  the  double  geranium,  and 
ferns,  from  the  Nilgherries,  the  Cannara  jungles, 
and  the  pathless  ghats;  and  through  them  I 
could  see  the  waving  plantain-trees,  and  a 
great  banyan,  with  aerial  roots,  and  tall 
Palmyra-trees,  backed  by  light  green  clouds  of 
the  sensitive  foliage  of  the  tamarind-tree.  My 
easy-chair  was  a  place  to  dream  in.  The  book 
in  my  lap  lay  neglected,  I  could  not  help  fol- 


lowing  the  flight  of  the  bright  birds  and 
glorious  butterflies  as  they  glinted  by,  or 
watching  the  changing  hue  of  the  chameleons 
as  they  darted  about. 

The  house  stood  in  about  two  acres  of 
ground — the  Compound,  as  it  was  called,  a 
name  so  indicative  of  its  various  divisions  that 
I  was  tempted  to  use  it,  for  I  was  ignorant  that 
it  was  a  corruption  of  the  Malay  word  Kom- 
pany,  and  imagined  it  to  be  one  of  those  Anglo- 
Indian  words  to  which  I  have  a  great  aversion. 
(Why  cannot  people,  for  instance,  say  luncheon, 
instead  of  tiffin  ?)  To  the  north  lay  the 
stables,  the  kitchens,  and  other  offices,  the 
poultry  houses,  the  sheds  for  the  milk-giving 
animals,  sheltered  by  trees,and  hidden  by  a  build- 
ing erected  by  G ,  and  a  rabbit-house,  which 

looked  exceedingly  like  a  family  mausoleum. 
In  the  midst  of  the  enclosure  rose  the  old 
arched  tomb,  where  a  certain  cobra  was  known 
to  keep  watch  over  the  bones  of  Afzool  Khan's 
prime  minister. 

On  one  side,  near  the  front  of  the  house,  there 
grew  a  great  round-headed  ramplul,  which 
yielded  an  immense  quantity  of  fruit,  esteemed 
as  sacred  by  the  Hindoos.  It  was  large,  heart- 
shaped,  and  netted,  and  was  full  of  custard,  in 
itself  a  perfect  meal,   but   by   no   means    one 


which  was  digestible.  This  tree  was  enclosed 
by  trellis-work,  which  was  covered  by  fine 
creepers ;  and  within  the  bower  were  set  such 
flowers  as  loved  the  shade.  On  the  other  side 
was  a  Badminton  ground,  where  benches  and 
seats  were  arranged ;  and  there  were  flower- 
beds and  a  splendid  collection  of  caladiuras. 
One  very  tall  fir-tree  rose  near  this  spot,  with 
peculiar  foliage,  as  fine  as  horse-hair,  and  round 
its  great  trunk  there  clung  a  night-blowing 
cenus,  a  long-pointed  plant,  which  climbed 
until  it  attained  the  height  of  sixty  feet,  and 
then  threw  out  great  straggling  sprays. 

One  day  we  discovered  that  these  were 
covered  with  dull  yellow  buds,  which  pointed 
upwards  ;  and  when,  in  the  evening,  we  had 
lights  brought  under  it,  never  could  I  have 
imagined  so  glorious  a  specimen  of  the  floral 
world.  The  flowers,  above  a  foot  in  length, 
had  turned  over  in  opening,  and  hung  suspend- 
ed above  us  in  exquisite  beauty.  We  counted 
two  hundred  and  ten  of  the  great  star-like 
cups,  but  no  doubt  there  were  many  hidden 
by  the  stems  and  branches.  A  long  ladder  was 
brought,  and  some  half-dozen  flowers  were  cut 
off.  Although  so  large,  nothing  could  exceed 
the  delicacy  of  their  texture ;  the  wax-like 
leaves,  white  at  the  tip,  were  lemon-colour  at 


the  bore_,  and  the  deep  fringe  of  exquisite  fine 
petals  was  of  a  rich  deep  golden  hue.  We  had 
been  told  that,  if  the  flower  was  deprived,  when 
plucked,  of  its  long  stem,  it  would  last  much 
longer.  We  did  not,  however,  find  that  the 
operation  made  any  difference  in  this  respect. 
All  faded  in  a  few  hours,  and  lost  their  sweet 
perfume.  The  blossom,  though  much  finer, 
bore  some  resemblance  to  that  of  the  water-lily. 
In  this  great  rush  of  vigour,  Nature  had  for  this 
season  exhausted  itself,  and  we  looked  in  vain 
for  succeeding  buds. 

The  confiding  tameness  of  bird  and  beast  is 
one  of  the  pleasures  of  Indian  life.  All  the 
butter  and  the  ghi  used  for  cooking  was  made 
at  home.  The  two  great  buffaloes,  called,  from 
the  rivers  that  watered  their  native  plains, 
Krishna  and  Malparba,  came  up  morning  and 
evening  to  be  milked,  at  the  side  verandah,  into 
shining  brass  vessels.  Their  little  ones  accom- 
panied them — tame  things,  with  budding  horns 
and  lucid  eyes,  who  were  pleased  to  have  their 
heads  rubbed,  and  to  follow  one  about  for  bits 
of  sugar-cane.  Buffaloes'  milk  is  very  rich,  and 
produces  the  thickest  of  cream.  Then  the  small 
Deccan  cows  came  up  with  their  calves.  With 
the  exception  of  the  hump  upon  the  neck,  they 
bear  a  great  resemblance  to  certain  Swiss  cows. 

VOL.  i.  r 


They  are  black  and  ash-colour,  and  very  wicked. 
M.  eventually  got  rid  of  our  old  friends  the 
goats,  which  required  constant  attention,  as 
they  must  browse  whilst  in  milk.  With  one 
exception,  the  poultry  were  confined  to  their 
own  quarters.  The  favoured  bird  was  a  turkey 
cock,  who  had  a  history,  having  been  singled 
out  for  his  merits  to  grace  the  festive  board 
upon  the  anniversary  of  G and  M.'s  wed- 
ding-day. On  the  very  eve  of  the  joyous  occa- 
sion, however,  he  sickened  with  a  severe  attack 
of  small-pox,  which  was  the  means  of  preserving 
his  life  for  many  months.  He  was  very  fond  of 
following  me  about,  but  not  altogether  out  of 
friendship.  My  feathered  friend  ultimately  dis- 
appeared, and  I  was  too  prudent  to  ask  any 
questions  regarding  his  absence.  The  great 
twin  brothers  had  their  kennels  close  to  the 
house,  and  would  occasionally  steal  into  it,  to 
the  vast  indignation  of  Bustle,  who  would  never 
cease  barking  until,  with  their  tails  between 
their  legs,  and  drooping  ears,  they,  for  the  sake 
of  peace,  took  their  departure. 

The  human  creatures  about  us  formed  a  mot- 
ley population — Protestant  and  Roman  Catholic, 
Mahomedan  and  Hindoo.  In  consequence  of 
the  sub-division  of  labour  in  an  Indian  estab- 
lishment, wages  are  the  greatest  item  of  ex- 


pense.  On  the  first  of  every  month  quite  a 
crowd  flocked  up  to  the  office  to  receive  their 

money,  on  which  occasions   G had  never 

less  than  thirty-three  pounds  to  disburse,  and 
often  above  that  sum.  These  people  were  highly 
and  regularly  paid;  they  were  well  cared  for 
when  sick  ;  their  wages  were  never  cut  (a  com- 
mon and  convenient  way  of  punishing  domestic 
offences) ;  but  they  were  kept  up  to  their  work, 
and  no  sauntering  about,  or  peeping  round  cor- 
ners, was  allowed.  Many  of  them  had  followed 
their  master  from  Sattara,  and  there  was  seldom 
a  change.  The  children  had  an  English  nurse 
— a  dear  old  woman,  whose  one  standing  griev- 
ance was  the  difficulty  of  renewing  the  poke 
bonnet  of  her  youth,  which  she  insisted  upon 
retaining.  She  had  an  ayah  under  her,  who 
spoke  our  language,  and  was  strictly  enjoined 
to  teach  no  word  of  Mahratta  to  her  charges, 
and  not  to  be  eternally  petting  them,  and  pick- 
ing up  their  toys. 

The  conversation  of  the  most  respectable 
natives  is  very  impure,  and  though  children  at 
the  time  may  not  understand  what  is  said,  the 
meaning  of  a  coarse  speech  often  dawns  upon 
them  when   they  are  older.     The  second  rule 

was  laid  down  because  M.  and  Gr desired 

their  children  to  be  thorough  English  children, 



and  disliked  the  half-Indianized,  fretful  little 
beings  so  often  to  be  met  with.  It  is  not  un- 
common to  see  two  native  women  and  a  man 
anticipating  every  whim  of  some  querulous 
little  thing,  who  would  have  considered  it  a 
hardship  if  required  to  lift  up  her  own  doll 
from  the  floor.  I  have  seen  an  ayah  and  three 
Sepoy  orderlies  engaged  about  a  couple  of  little 
children,  the  soldiers  even  assisting  in  tubbing 
them.  Our  ayah,  though  possibly  not  more 
than  five-and-thirty,  was  so  stiff  and  shrivelled 
that  she  had  an  air  of  positive  old  age ;  she  was 
very  small,  and  very  black,  and  as  she  sat  in 
her  low  chair,  or  on  the  ground,  with  her  skinny 
arms  round  the  fair  child,  she  looked  exactly 
like  a  monkey  wrapped  up  in  white  muslin. 
She  wore  mysterious  pockets  and  leather  bags 
under  her  external  garment,  and  was  the  slyest 
of  old  women.  She  used  to  steal  out  in  the 
grey  of  the  morning,  and  drawing  a  long  bam- 
boo from  its  place  of  concealment  in  the  hedge, 
she  would  knock  down  the  ripest  mangoes  and 
guavas,  conceal  them  about  her  person,  and 
creep  back  again,  quite  unconscious  of  the 
amusement  whieh  I  had  derived  from  watching 
her  stealthy  movements. 

The  butler,  a  young  man,  with  a  face  like  a 
bronze  lion,  was  a  Portuguese — at  least,  he  came 

THE  BUTLER.  245 

from  the  Portuguese  settlement  of  Goa,  which 
sends  forth  numbers  of  servants,  who  are 
necessary,  for  a  Hindoo  would  not  place  beef 
upon  the  table.  He  had  a  young  wife  in  the 
compound,  and  when  any  particular  ceremony 
took  place  in  the  Goanese  chapel,  she  used  to 

steal  G 's  flowers,  I  was  going  to  say  to  his 

smutterable  indignation,  but  I  recall  the  first 
part  of  the  word. 

In  India,  a  butler  is  a  very  important  person- 
age   (in   G 's   household   only  such    duties 

devolved  upon  him  as  would  have  been  his 
business  in  England),  but  he  is  not  to  be  envied. 
He  represents  all  the  other  domestics,  and  is 
scolded  for  their  faults  and  omissions  ;  he  orders 
the  dinner,  he  gets  in  the  stores,  and  sees  that 
the  babies  and  the  horses  are  properly  fed.  It 
often  happens  that  the  master  is  tired,  or  lazy, 
and  that  the  mistress  speaks  no  word  of  Hin- 
dustani ;  the  weather  is  hot,  and  they  are  both 
thankful  to  have  a  deputy  who  keeps  the  hetero- 
geneous household  together.  Our  second  man  was 
a  Mahomedan,  and  a  respectable  one,  although 
he  did  not  object  to  our  eating  ham  with  turkey. 
Our  housemaid,  as    we  called  him,  was  a  mild 

Hindoo,  a  favourite  with  G and  myself,  but 

not  so  with  M.,  who  declared  that  he  was  capa- 
ble of  pulling  an  iron  bar  in  two.     It  is  astonish- 


ing  what  this  race  can  do  with  their  subtle, 
gristly  fingers.  He  had  a  woman  under  him 
whom  we  never  saw.  He  was  a  man  of  good 
caste,  and  to  touch  anything  in  the  bath-rooms 
might   have   cost   him    a   trip   to    the  Ganges. 

G 's    waiter    was   Portuguese,    his   puttah- 

wallee  a  Mahomedan.  Like  all  his  race,  he  was 
sharp,  active,  and  hard, but  tolerably  trustworthy. 
He  had  charge  of  the  office,  wore  a  long  coat, 
with  a  band  crossing  over  one  shoulder,  which 
was  fastened  on  one  side  by  a  metal  badge,  on 
which  was  engraved  his  master's  names,  &c. 
It  is  the  puttah-wallee's  duty,  if  required,  to 
accompany  the  children  and  nurses  when  they 
walk  or  drive,  but  that  was  not  permitted  in 
this  model  household.  Had  I  submitted 
to  it,  he  would  have  followed  me  in  my 
walks,  and  carried  my  books  to  and  from 
the  library.  If  there]  was  a  party,  it  was 
he  who  ushered  in  the  guests,  and  on  such 
occasions,  to  the  great  amusement  of  M.  and 
myself,  he  arrayed  himself  in  a  straight  garment 
which  came  down  to  his  heels,  and  was  made 
of  brocaded  pink  satin.  His  smart  red  turban 
served  him  as  a  pocket,  and  in  its  folds  he 
carried  all  notes  confided  to  his  care.  Like  all 
the  other  servants,  he  never  entered  the  house 
save   with  naked  feet  (the  nails,  both  of  the 

G 'S  HOUSEHOLD.  247 

hands  and  feet  of  the  natives,  are  carefully- 
tended  by  professional  persons,  who  know  also 
something  of  surgery,  and  there  are  female  bar- 
bers for  the  women),  but  out  of  doors  he  wore 
sandals  worked  with  gold,  which  might  have 
excited  the  envy  of  an  ancient  Roman.  We  had 
two  derseis,  or  tailors,  who  sat  in  the  verandah, 
made  our  dresses,  brushed  them,  put  them  away, 
and  ironed  all  our  muslins.  They  were  very 
nice  quiet  men — Hindoos — with  the  dreadful 
eye  between  perpendicular  lines  upon  their  fore- 

Of  course  the  cook  was  a  very  important 
person,  and  as  beef  and  bacon  were  again  a 
consideration,  a  Portuguese  reigned  over  the 
department.  As  usual,  this  functionary  had  a 
mate  under  him,  and  as  M.  could  harangue  him 
both  in  the  tongue  of  the  country  and  in 
Spanish,  which  did  duty  for  Portuguese,  they 
got  on  very  well.  It  is  astonishing  what  these 
men  can  do  with  small  means.  M.  insisted  upon 
the  use  of  a  dresser  and  rolling-pin,  but  paste 
in  general  is  made  upon  a  board  placed  on  the 
floor,  and  smoothed  out  with  a  bottle.  On  one 
occasion  a  ball-supper  was  in  preparation,  and 
M.  thought  that  some  pies  in  cones  would  look 
very  well,  but  how  to  ornament  them  was  the 
question.     The  babbajee  pondered  till  a  bright 

248       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

idea  struck  him,  and  he  looked  up  with  a 
radiant  face ;  he  could  mould  the  designs,  and, 
if  Madam  would  only  lend  him  her  paints  and 
brushes,  he  could  manage  to  perfection. 

The  malee,  or  head  gardener,  was  a  strange- 
looking  man,  with  a  thing  like  a  cap  of  liberty 
on  his  head,  a  splendid  silver  waist  chain, 
several  earrings,  a  necklace,  and  a  relic  box, 
that  is  to  say,  a  box  containing  the  emblem  of 
his  sect.  The  greater  part  of  his  ill-shaped 
head  was  shaved,  but  down  the  centre  a  straight 
narrow  line  of  hair  was  allowed  to  grow,  ending 
in  a  circular  patch,  by  way  of  representing  the 
dreadful  eye,  and  his  would-be  whiskers  were 
trimmed  into  patterns.  Hindoos  bestow  the 
utmost  care  upon  their  hair,  which  is  exceed- 
ingly luxuriant,  and  their  barbers  trim  it  and 
arrange    it    in    all   sorts   of   fanciful   fashions. 

G had  two   orderlies,  one  of  whom  was 

from  a  native  regiment,  who  sometimes  had 
their  shining  tresses  braided  into  innumerable 
plaits,  and  folded  up  at  the  back  of  their  heads. 
I  wish  that  I  could  have  sketched  our  dobies 
(washermen),  father  and  son,  both  such  hand- 
some, stately-looking  men.  This  occupation  is 
peculiar  to  people  of  good  caste.  The  beestie, 
with  his  great  cream-coloured  bullock  (its  hump 
wreathed  with  flowers  on  festival  days),  was 
a  picturesque  object. 


There  was  one  man  in  the  establishment  to 
whom  I  had  the  utmost  aversion,  for  he  was 
cruel  to  his  cattle.  He  had  in  his  charge  a  little 
buffalo,  who  had  been  given  to  me  as  a  pet. 
The  poor  thing  used  to  yearn  for  the  green 
grass,  which  was  almost  under  his  nose,  and 
which  it  might  have  had  with  very  little  trou- 
ble ;  but  it  was  only  by  resorting  to  bribery  that 
I  could  obtain  for  it  proper  attention  and  a  little 
indulgence.  This  man  would  sometimes  point 
out  to  me  wounds  which  had  been  inflicted  upon 
him  by  his  animals.  I  felt  myself  obliged 
to  look  commiserative,  as  I  wished  to  con- 
ciliate him ;  bat  I  used  to  think  to  myself 
that  1  was  very  glad  that  he  was  hurt.  The 
appearance  of  this  individual  was  most  remark- 
able ;  he  had  large  nostrils,  but  scarcely  any 
nose ;  his  hard,  bright  eyes  were  perfectly 
round,  and  he  wriggled  his  lithe  body  about 
when  he  walked.  I  do  think  that  this  man 
must  have  been  a  snake  in  some  former  state 
of  existence,  and  this  reptile  had  a  kind  of 
sympathy  for  him.  The  bite  even  of  a  cobra,  he 
declared,  he  found  to  produce  no  ill  effects.  It 
is  certain  that  he  caught  several  in  our  com- 
pound, and  that  Gr ■  saw  one  of  them  (not  a 

cobra)    produce   blood    by   its    bite.     He   was 
alarmed,   but    the  uncanny   creature  laughed, 


and  went  on  his  way  unharmed,  and  apparently 
unconcerned.  We  always  called  him  "the 
missing  link/' 

The  domestics  were  occasionally  very  trouble- 
some in  asking  for  holidays,  and  that  under  such 
plausible  pretexts  that  it  was  difficult  to  say  no. 
One  man  would  desire  a  few  days  in  which  to 
marry  his  daughter  and  feast  his  friends; 
another  would  announce  that  his  father,  or  some 
other  near  relative,  was  dead  and  that  he  must 

attend  to  the  funeral  ceremonies.    When  G 

was  from  home,  the  death-rate  increased  to  an 
alarming  extent,  and  at  last  became  so  seriously 
inconvenient  that  we  had  to  assemble  the 
household,  and  announce  that  none  of  their  re- 
lations were  either  to  marry  or  to  die  until 
their  master  returned.  Our  friend  the  brigadier 
told  us  that  he  had  set  up  a  register  of  such 
events,  and  that  upon  his  butler's  saying  that 
he  must  go  and  bury  his  father,  he  pointed  out 
to  the  man  that  the  relative  in  question  had 
departed  this  life  seven  months  previously. 
The  butler  never  attempted  to  argue  the  point, 
but  grinned,  and  appeared  to  be  pleased  rather 
than  otherwise  that  the  event  should  have  been 

In   general,   the   trying  part   of    an   Indian 
establishment  is  its  want  of  privacy,  for  there 


are  very  few  houses  in  which  the  servants  are 
not  all  over  the  place.  If  there  happen  to  be 
visitors,  they  cross  through  the  rooms  on  the 
slightest  pretence,  merely  to  look  at  them. 
Perhaps  the  dersei  will  take  the  opportunity  of 
bringing  in  some  torn  garment,  having  all  of  a 
sudden  grown  most  conscientious  as  to  the 
manner  it  which  it  is  to  be  mended.  The  doors- 
and  windows  being  of  necessity  open,  there  are 
eyes  and  heads  everywhere,  if  allowed,  but  not 
a  sound  indicates  the  presence  of  their  owners, 
who  steal  round  the  corners  with  naked,  noise- 
less feet,  their  garments  never  rustling.  Natives 
are  very  curious,  and  dearly  love  to  gossip 
when  their  masters  are  out,  gathering  together 
in  the  roads,  and  discussing  the  affairs  of  the 
family  over  the  garden  hedge.  Great  mischief 
has  arisen  from  this  custom,  and  from  the  habit 
which  some  ladies,  who  would  scorn  to  do  so  at 
home,  have  of  talking  to  their  ayahs,  who,  in 
such  cases,  collect  all  the  personal  gossip  they 
can,  and,  of  course,  colour  it  highly;  but  ayahs 
are  rapidly  going  out  of  fashion,  and  ladies,  if 
possible,  secure  European  attendants  in  thsir 
houses  and  about  their  persons.  Still  the 
native  servants,  more  especially  the  Hindoos, 
have  very  good  points.  During  a  great  afflic- 
tion with  which  God,  for  some  inscrutable  good 


purpose,  was  pleased  to  visit  us,  they  showed 
their  sorrow  and  sympathy  in  a  most  simple  and 
unobtrusive  manner. 

1  cannot  help  saying  a  few  words  respecting 
those  servants  that  called  themselves  Christians. 
It  may  seem  to  be  a  startling  assertion,  but  it 
was  a  fact :  they  were  a  most  unprincipled  set 
of  people,  for  they  were  hypocrites,  who  pro- 
fessed any  religion  to  serve  a  purpose.  The 
missionaries  declare  that  this  class  work  infinite 
mischief,  for  they  mislead  many  of  the  English 
with  whom  they  come  in  contact,  by  inducing 
the  unreflecting  to  believe  "  that  the  heathen, 
when  converted,  only  make  bad  Christians,  and 
are  better  left  alone."  Such  is  the  speech  in  many 
a  mouth.  Respecting  the  best  means  of  win- 
ning over  the  Hindoo  race  to  true  Christianity, 
people  differ  greatly.  I  do  not  presume  to  offer 
an  opinion  upon  so  momentous  a  subject — in- 
deed, I  am  not  sure  that  I  have  one  (how  lightly 
people  talk  of  their  opinions !)  ;  but  to  my  mind 
the  following  lines,  written  by  one  who  was 
competent  to  judge,  are  very  significant  : — 

"  It  cannot  be  doubted  that  the  endeavour 
to  diffuse  Christianity  amongst  the  higher 
classes  of  the  natives  is  one  of  very  great  im- 
portance, for  the  institution  of  caste  gives  the 
higher  classes  greater  influence  in  India  than  in 


any  other  country ;  but  it  was  found  that  they 
could  not  be  reached  by  any  of  the  agencies 
formerly  at  work,  and  up  to  the  present  time  it 
is  only  by  means  of  an  English  education  of  so 
high  an  order  as  to  prove  an  attraction  to  them, 
that  those  classes  have,  in   any  degree,  been 
brought  within  the  range  of  Christian  influences. 
The  number  of  persons   actually  converted  to 
Christianity  from   year   to   year,  by   means  of 
these  schools,  has  never  been  considerable,  and 
seems  smaller  of  late  years  than  ever.     On  the 
other  hand,  the  converts  of  this  system,  though 
few  in  number,  belong  to  an  influential  class ; 
and    it    is    an   interesting   circumstance    that, 
through  their  influence  and  example,  Christian- 
ity   has    spread,    in    some     degree,    amongst 
persons  belonging  to  the  same  class  who  have 
never   been  at  mission  schools  at  all,  or  who 
have  attended  schools  from  which  Christianity 
has  been  carefully  excluded.    The  good  effected 
by  these  schools  cannot  be  safely  estimated  by 
the  number    of    conversions  that  has  actually 
taken  place  in  connection  with  them,  for  it  is 
universally  acknowledged  that  they  have  done 
much  good  incidentally.     Many  Hindoos,  who 
still  adhere  to  their  ancestral  faith,  value  these 
schools  highly  on  account   of  the   high  moral 
tone  by  which  they  are  pervaded.     It  is  chiefly 


owing  to  the  influence  of  these  schools  that  we 
see  amongst  the  Hindoos  such  a  spirit  of  inquiry, 
and  the  germs,  at  least,  of  so  many  moral  and 
social  reforms." 

To  a  Hindoo  the  most  attractive  form  of 
Christian  religion  is  that  of  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church;  but,  strange  to  say,  the  missionaries  sent 
to  India  occupy  themselves  very  little  with  the 
conversion  of  the  heathen  ;  they  rather  seek  to 
make  proselytes  from  other  Christian  communi- 
ties. Our  ayah  was  one  of  their  converts.  I 
used  to  wonder  what  her  ideas  upon  the  subject 
could  really  be,  for,  from  all  I  could  gather,  they 
appeared  to  be  most  cloudy,  and  certainly,  if 
she  had  any  religious  convictions,  she  did  not 
bring  them  to  bear  upon  her  moral  conduct, 
and  I  have  observed  that  Christianized  ayahs, 
in  general,  fall  back  upon  caste  if  they  have  any 
task  allotted  to  them  which  they  are  unwilling 
to  perform.  But  is  it  surprising  that  such 
should  be  the  case  1  This  woman  had  inherited 
the  fatal  legacy  of  a  hundred  generations  of 
heathenism,  had  to  rid  herself  of  the  evil  ten- 
dencies handed  down  to  her,  to  forget  the  gross 
converse  of  her  youth  before  she  could  become 
a  Christian  at  heart.  The  Lenana  Mission  is 
widely  spread,  and  is  supposed  to  produce  good 

EXPENSES  OF  THE  TABLE.         255 

fruit,  but  it  has  many  stumbling-blocks  to  en- 
counter, one  of  which  is  the  aversion  which  the 
native  lady  has  to  the  idea  of  learning  to  read ; 
her  narrow  mind  associating  learning,  in  a 
female,  with  vice,  for  the  only  Indian  women 
hitherto  so  instructed  were  the  dancing  girls 
belonging  to  the  temples.  Moreover,  the 
generality  of  Hindoo  men  are  against  the 
movement.  A  highly  enlightened  native  said 
to  me,  "  Before  our  women  and  girls  are  edu- 
cated, we  must  have  a  new  literature." 

The  ordinary  expenses  of  the  table  were 
moderate,  as  we  had  abundance  of  cream  and 
vegetables  of  our  own.  Mutton  was  but  three 
halfpence  the  pound.  Nothing  could  look  more 
delicate  than  the  joints,  but  it  was  necessary  to 
use  the  meat  whilst  unpleasantly  fresh,  and  it 
had  a  strong,  oily,  woolly  flavour  to  which  I 
never  became  reconciled.  M.  entered  into  a 
speculation  with  regard  to  mutton,  which  ought 
to  have  enriched  the  family,  but  it  was  a  failure. 
She  bought  a  small  flock  of  sheep,  and  took  base 

advantage  of  a  meadow  which  G had  hired 

for  the  cows  and  buffaloes.  Though  they  were 
full-grown,  these  sheep  did  not  cost  more  than 
fourteen  shillings  the  half-dozen.  Beef  was 
plentiful  and  tolerably  good,  and  was  the  same 
price  as  mutton,  but  there  is  a  prejudice  against 

256       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

the  flesh  of  this  animal,  which  is  said  to  induce 
certain  maladies  of  a  painful  nature.  It  is 
generally  buffalo  beef,  and  these  animals,  being 
very  impure  feeders,  are  often  fed  upon  stable 
refuse,  and  for  the  same  reason  the  milk  and 
ghi  sold  in  the  bazaars  are  often  unwholesome. 
Occasionally,  however,  a  fine  one  would  arrive 
from  Bijipur  or  Gokak,  and  then  a  notice,  word- 
ed in  the  most  peculiar  manner,  was  sent  round. 

G generally  managed,  amongst  other  parts, 

to  secure  the  hump,  which  is  excellent,  if  care- 
fully salted ;  when  near  its  end,  it  grates  like 
hung  beef,  but  when  it  first  comes  to  table  it  looks 
like  a  great  red  cloven  foot.  Veal  was  good, 
but  not  common,  and  fresh  pork  we  never  saw. 
The  poultry,  a  little  tough  in  consequence  of  its 
freshness,  was  otherwise  good,  being  fattened 
at  home.  It  was  reared  in  the  Portuguese  ter- 
ritory, and  brought  from  thence  in  great  round 
baskets,  balanced  upon  the  heads  of  wild  dark 
men.  The  birds  were  verv  tame,  and  whilst 
their  masters  and  the  butler  were  striking  their 
bargains  they  were  let  out  to  take  a  walk  and  pick 
up  what  they  could.  If  not  bought,  they  were 
guided  back  to  their  cages  by  a  twig  with  a 
bunch  of  leaves  at  the  end.  I  came  to  look  upon 
Goa  as  a  land  flowing  with  milk  and  honey ;  all 
the  best  mangoes  come  from  thence,  as  well  as 

FISH  AND  GAME.  •  257 

oranges  and  other  fruits.    From  thence  G- 

used  to  get  up  casks  of  excellent  pure  wine, 
which  entered  Goa  from  the  mother  country,  free 
of  duty,  but  a  heavy  tax  had  to  be  paid  at  the 
British  frontier.  Still  the  wine,  which  was  rich 
and  rather  strong,  cost  him  less  than  a  shilling  a 
bottle.  The  Branco  was  made  from  the  white 
grape,  and  somewhat  resembled  good  raisin 
wine ;  the  Tinto  was  a  kind  of  port,  a  little 
rough,  but  well-flavoured.  Coarse  lace,  made 
very  effectively  by  hand,  was  also  brought  from 
the  same  quarter.  Some  people  had  it  dyed  to 
match  the  colour  of  their  dresses.  Occasion- 
ally game  was  brought  round — snipe,  wild 
duck,  teal,  a  kind  of  bustard,  partridges,  &c, 
with  painted  plumage,  but  their  flesh  was  re- 
markably hard  and  white.  A  fine  hare  could 
be  bought  for  a  shilling.  At  certain  seasons  the 
fresh-water  fish  made  a  pleasant  addition  to 
the  table.  The  marsal,  which  somewhat  re- 
sembles a  pike,  is  much  esteemed.  There  were 
eels  in  abundance ;  and  a  certain  fry,  which, 
when  sent  up  with  slices  of  brown  bread  and 
butter,  deluded  people  into  the  idea  that  they 
were  eating  whitebait.  Prawns,  which  were 
plentiful,  were  generally  served  up  on  toast, 
without  which  no  Anglo-Indian  dinner  is  con- 
sidered complete.  The  green  chilli  makes  an 
VOL.  I.  S 


excellent  toast ;  when  young  it  is  not  so  hot, 
and  the  flavour  is  most  refreshing.  Oysters 
would  occasionally  arrive  all  alive,  but  not  good 
enough  to  be  served  up  uncooked,  having  lost 
a  good  deal  of  their  sea  flavour  from  being 
kept  artificially  on  their  journey  from  the 
Malabar  Coast. 

People  differed  much  in  their  appreciation  of 
tinned  provisions.  With  some  exceptions,  such 
as  salmon  and  bacons  and  hams,  which  they'got 
out  whole  from  Aberdeen,  they  had  a  prejudice 
against  them,  considering  them  to  be  neither  good 
nor  wholesome.  A  good  cook  will  send  up  an  ex- 
cellent dinner  with  little  recourse  to  their  aid. 
The  great  expense  at  a  dinner-party  is  the 
champagne,  which  flows  in  abundance,  many 
touching  no  other  kind  of  wine ;  and  at  the 
messes  it  is  now  handed  round  at  dessert. 
Our  vegetable  garden  was  so  productive  that 
we  very  seldom  availed  ourselves  of  those  at- 
tached to  the  station,  which,  however,  to  many 
people  are  a  great  boon.  We  had  all  sorts  of 
salads  and  ordinary  vegetables  grown  from 
English  seed,  which  must  be  renewed  each 
season,  as  it  deteriorates.  The  exotic  sorts 
were  sweet  potatoes,  a  variety  of  marrowy 
guavas  and  pulpy  productions,  green  sugar-cane, 
very     young,    which     is    cooked     in     various 

FRUIT.  259 

fashions,  and  the  spike  of  the  maze  when 
tender.  This  is  a  favourite  dish,  but  it  is  only- 
presented  en  famille,  as  it  has  to  be  gnawed. 
What  is  called  the  thirty  days'  rice,  grown 
during  the  rains,  is  nice,  and  much  given  to  in- 
valids. Fruit,  to  the  European,  is  a  great 
Indian  luxury,  and  very  wholesome,  some  half 
living  upon  it.  Many  varieties  are  of  a  very 
substantial  nature,  for  in  this  latitude  it  was 
evidently  intended  to  be  the  staple  food  of  the 
inhabitants.  Its  cultivation,  however,  is  some- 
what neglected  in  this  part  of  the  Deccan,  as 
there  is  not  now  sufficient  demand  for  the  finest 
sorts.  When  communication  with  other  parts 
of  the  country  was  slow  the  case  was  different. 
Many  people  remember  our  compound  a 
luxuriant  grove  of  orange  and  lime-trees  ;  but  a 
solitary  specimen  alone  remains  now,  and  that 
is  strangled  and  hidden  away  by  a  great 
creeper.  Doubtless  the  fruit  of  the  mango 
stands  first.  If  uncultivated,  the  tree  spreads 
into  a  forest,  with  far-stretching  branches  and 
noble  foliage ;  by  cultivation  it  is  dwarfed.  It 
bears  an  endless  quantity  of  fruit,  and  is  most 
luxuriant  near  the  sea.  In  its  early  stage  the 
fruit  resembles  a  large  unripe  plum,  and  is  sus- 
pended from  the  parent  in  branches,  each  on  its 
long  green  thread.     It  gradually  assumes  an 



oval,  flattish,  and  not  very  symmetrical  form, 
and  becomes  golden  yellow,  green  with  a  flush, 
of  red,  or  russet,  according  to  its  variety.  Some 
of  them  taste  so  strongly  of  turpentine  as  scarcely 
to  be  eatable.  One  sort,  which  is  rare,  resembles 
an  apricot,  and  is  only  served  in  perfection  by 
the  native  princes,  who  moisten  the  roots  with 
libations  of  fresh  camel's  milk.     It  cannot  be 

bought,   but  G< ,  who   has   often   eaten  it, 

pronounces  it  to  be  delicious.  Mangoes  are 
grafted  by  the  arching-iu  process,  and  in  this 
country  two  devices  are  practised  in  order  to 
render  it,  or  other  large  trees,  graceful.  One 
consists  in  punching  out  here  and  there  on  the 
stem  pieces  of  bark ;  the  other  in  driving  a  large 
nail  into  the  stem  of  the  tree  where  the 
branches  fork  out.  This,  it  is  supposed,  pre- 
vents the  sap  from  descending,  and  concentrates 
it  in  the  fruit-bearing  branches.  In  some 
respects  this  fruit  is  inconvenient.  It  is  said  to 
tinge  people  yellow  ;  its  juice  stains  the  hands, 
and  woe  be  to  your  dress  if  the  slippery  stone 
falls  upon  it.  The  tree  was  introduced  into 
the  West  Indies  by  Sir  Joseph  Banks,  but  has 
never  attained  such  perfection  there  as  in  India. 
It  was  a  pretty  sight  to  see  the  great  baskets 
of  fruit  uncovered  in  the  verandah — the  large 
golden  pines  (principally  from  Goa)  were  much 


superior  to  those  produced  in  the  West  Indies, 
and  very  nearly  as  good  as  our  English  hot- 
house productions.     We  had  some  in  the  gar- 
den,  but   there    was   scarcely   any   motive  for 
growing  them,  as  in   the  season  we  could  get 
three   for   a   shilling.     Sometimes    we    bought 
plantains,  but  at  others  the  great  konds  ripened 
so   rapidly   that   we   had   to  give  them  away. 
The    long,   narrow,   green    leaf,   as   it    waves 
about,    is     very     beautiful ;     they     are     often 
cut    into    shapes,   and  serve   to    convey    cer- 
tain  articles   in  place   of  paper.     There  were 
numberless  varieties  of  this  fruit,  but  none  of 
them,  to  our  mind,  so  delicious  as  those  we  had 
eaten  in  North  Africa.     It  was  curious  to  watch 
the  purple  glow  unfold.     I  have  seen  leaves  a 
foot  and   a  half  long.     Concealed   under  each 
leaf  is  a  fringe  of  yellow  threads,  which  force 
the    covering    off,   and    swell    into   the   fruit. 
Sometimes  there   were   great   round  pomelos, 
ornamented  like   the   great   globes   hung  sus- 
pended  from   the   tree.     The   perfume  of    the 
blossom  is  delicious  in  the  open  air.     They  are 
not,  in  my  opinion,  good  to  eat,  but  I  need  not 
dwell  upon   their  excellence   when   made  into 
sherbet — that    is    a    matter    of   history.     The 
small-netted  carland  apple  is   both  good  and 


One  day  a  fresh  fruit  was  brought  for  me  to 
try — a  fruit  about  which  there  can  be  no 
middle  opinion,  for  it  is  either  liked  or  disliked 
exceedingly.  When  the  great  spongy  rind  is 
cut  open,  it  presents  to  view  a  number  of  raw- 
looking  bags,  the  colour  of  uncooked  veal. 
This  is  eaten  in  various  ways,  and  is  so  glutin- 
ous that  if  mixed  with  sugar  and  put  into  a 
mould  it  will  turn  out  in  a  shape.  The  large 
nut  which  each  bag  contains  is,  when  roasted, 
said  to  be  very  like  the  chestnut. 

We  were  fortunate  enough  to  have  a  number 
of  guava-trees,  much  esteemed  not  only  for 
their  fruit,  but  for  their  foliage,  which  is  always 
green.  Children  are  very  fond  of  the  raw  fruit, 
but  I  must  confess  to  liking  it  best  when 
stewed.  The  soft  furry  rind  alone  is  used 
when  thus  prepared,  but  when  jelly  and  port 
are  made,  the  seed  which  fills  the  interior  like 
that  of  a  fig  is  also  employed.  Stewed  citron 
is  very  nice ;  and  the  shrub  with  its  glossy, 
myrtle-like  leaves  is  highly  ornamental. 

Some  like  the  loquat,  the  fruit  of  which 
grows  in  clusters,  and  look  like  little  yellow 
pears.  What  pulp  it  contains  has  a  pleasant, 
sharp  flavour,  but  the  large  and  numerous 
stones  are  a  drawback  to  its  merits.  The  tree 
bears   a  beautiful  blossom,  and   the  foliage  is 


fine.  We  had  pomegranates,  valuable  for  the 
beauty  of  the  flower ;  but  the  fruit  is  poor  in, 
Western  India,  unless  the  tree,  like  ours,  be 
•well  irrigated.  It  seems  scarcely  our  sister- 
tree,  which  bears  the  enormous  ruddy  brown 
heads,  bursting  with  the  richness  of  their  ruby 

contents,  which  G brought  from  Sind.    We 

had  an  ornamental  culinary  plant,  called  the 
roselle.  The  part  made  use  of  is  the  husk  of 
the  berry,  which  contains  the  seeds — it  makes 
the  most  delicious  tarts,  and  a  jelly  finer  in 
colour  than  currant  jelly,  for  which  it  makes  an 
admirable  substitute. 

Some  deluded  people,  G included,  were 

proud  of  their  strawberries,  but  I  never  saw  any 
in  Belgaum  that  were  worth  eating.  We  had, 
however,  a  profusion  of  the  so-called  raspberry, 
a  large  downy  bramble  from  the  Nilgherries, 
which  bore  a  fruit  like  a  hoary  blackberry,  but 
red  inside,  and  with  very  little  flavour.  The 
Cape  gooseberry,  or  Peruvian  cherry,  the  fruit 
of  which  makes  an  excellent  preserve,  is  worth 
mentioning.  Its  bright  yellow  ball  is  concealed 
by  angular  leaves,  and  has  a  pleasant  acid 
flavour.  Of  course  I  can  only  make  mention  of 
some  of  the  good  things  with  which  our  table 
was  supplied,  but  I  think  that  I  have  mentioned 
such  a  variety  as  to  show  that  we  did  not  starve 
in  Western  India. 

264       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

Gr spared  neither  expense,  time,  nor  per- 
sonal labour  upon  his  garden,  and  it  was  far 
the  finest  in  Belgaura.  During  the  dry  season 
a  number  of  hands  were  required  morning  and 
evening  to  water  the  plants  in  pots  and  tubs, 
which  could  not  be  irrigated.  There  were 
many  beautiful  creepers,  trained  upon  trellises 
and  frames  of  bamboo.  I  think  that  the  bright 
pink  sprays  of  the  antigonon  stood  first.  The 
leafy  plants  grew  with  the  greatest  luxuriance, 
and  some  of  them  were  rare  specimens.  There 
were  above  five-and-twenty  varieties  of  the 
caladium.  The  show  of  roses  was  almost  as 
good  as  in  a  garden  at  home  ;  the  plants  were 
sent  over  in  tin  cases  by  the  best  English 
growers.  The  vegetable  growth  was  prodigi- 
ously quick,  and  required  constant  pruning  and 
renewal  of  soil.  I  have  seen  a  rose  in  bloom 
which  had  only  budded  three  weeks  previously. 

Among  the  annuals  the  balsams  attained  the 
greatest  perfection ;  the  blossoms  of  the  pink 
and  white  variety  were  as  large  as  those  of  the 
variegated  camellia.  The  balsam  grows  wild 
all  over  the  country,  but  the  exotic  seed  only 
answers  for  one  season  ;  planted  a  second  time, 
you  have  the  simple  flower,  which  grows  wild. 
It  is  the  same  with  the  chrysanthemum,  which 
is   also  indigenous.     The   latter  is  ornamental 


even  if  carelessly  cultivated,  coming  out  in  a 
profusion  of  small  yellow  blossoms.  It  was 
odd  to  see  it  blossom  by  the  side  of  what  in 
England  would  be  called  Summer  plants. 

A  delicate,  sensitive  plant,  which  grew  along 
the  ground,  was  one  of  my  favourites.  The 
delicate  leaves  were  of  a  fine  green,  but  if 
swept  over  by  the  hand  their  beauty  vanished, 
and  a  few  dry  sticks  were  alone  visible.  In 
this  country  Nature  appears  to  delight  in  con- 
trasting her  colours ;  the  tall  bright  yellow 
acacia,  overtopped  the  gorgeous  crimson  poin- 
settia  and  clouds  of  pure  blue  convolvuli,  grew 
by  its  side.  It  was  a  treat  to  open  the  windows 
in  the  fresh  early  morning,  and  look  upon  the 
hundreds  of  azure  eyes  which  were  drinking  in 
the  colour  of  the  sky.  Sometimes  at  night, 
when  the  very  air  seemed  aglow,  I  used  to  step 
out  to  see  the  pure  white  moon-flower ;  the 
blossom  was  at  least  eight  inches  across,  and 
emitted  a  delightful  perfume.  It  is  a  kind  of 
convolvulus.  The  juice  of  the  moon-plant  is 
mentioned  in  ancient  Hindoo  poetry  as  fit  for 
the  sustenance  of  hermits.  Gardening  in  India 
is  a  great  and  very  wholesome  pleasure. 



Difficulties  of  Driving — Red  Dust — Venerable  Groves — 
Temples  and  Dharam  Solas— The  Dheer's  Well— The 
Edgar — Churches  and  Chapels — Refuges  for  Lepers — 
The  Jack-tree — Jungle  Creepers — Drives  about  the 
Camp — Uses  of  the  Acacia-tree — The  Commissariat 
Lines — Intelligent  Elephants — Cultivation  of  Cotton 
— Camping  Parties — Fashionable  Resort — Scene  at 
the  Band  Stand — Dogs  Military  and  Civilian — Jam- 

UNTIL  I  got  accustomed  to  the  constant 
turmoil  which  went  on,  I  found  driving 
very  fatiguing.  To  begin  with,  there  was  either 
the  insufficiently  protected  viaduct  over  the 
fosse  to  be  crossed,  or  we  had  to  face  the  dark 
way,  the  light  in  Durga's  shrine,  the  sharp  turns 
of  the  main  guard,  and  the  earthworks.  Then 
the  roads,  although  remarkably  good,  were 
constantly  blocked  by  herds  of  cattle  going  to 
and  fro  to  water,  bullock-carts,  tumbrils,  and 
waggons  laden  with  cotton.  As  for  the  natives, 
they  appeared  desirous  of  being  run  over,  or  at 
least  to  consider  that  it  was  not  their  duty  to 


avoid  an  accident.  It  was  the  duty  of  the 
Gora-wallers  to  clear  the  way — black,  keen- 
sighted  men,  who  even  in  the  dark  could  dis- 
tinguish small  objects.  (In  consequence  of  their 
perfect  vision,  Sepoys  beat  the  English  soldiers 
in  firing  at  long  range.)  They  were  as  active 
as  monkeys,  and  were  continually  jumping  up 
and  down,  shouting,  running  beside  the  horses, 
or  waving  white  dusters,  which  I  came  to 
understand  meant  rocks  ahead. 

Fortunately,  Arab  horses  are  very  courageous- 
and  steady ;  not  even  the  fierce  lightning,  the 
glow  of  the  blacksmith's  or  the  baker's  ovens, 
the  flaming  piles  which  on  festive  occasions  are 
set  by  the  roadside,  or  the  torchlight  processions 
accompanied  by  the  shrieks  and  groans  of  bar- 
baric music,  daunting  them.  But  in  India 
horses  get  accustomed  to  the  vicinity  of  flames, 
for  every  evening  a  heap  of  brushwood  is 
kindled  in  their  stables,  in  order  to  destroy 
inosquitos  and  other  flies. 

Belgaum  is  situated  upon  ferruginous  clay 
stone,  and  no  one  who  arrives  there  in  the  hot 
weather,  before  the  rains,  can  fail  to  be  aston- 
ished at  the  red  hue  which  pervades  the  land- 
scape. The  top  soil  is  completely  pulverized, 
and  everything — hedges  and  trees,  roads,  and 
houses — is  covered  with   it ;  and  when  lit  up 


by  the  glowing  rays  of  a  setting  sun,  the  effect 
produced  is  quite  weird-like.  This  red  dust  is 
destructive  to  wearing  apparel. 

Two  roads  led  to  the  camp  and  downs,  which 
were  above  two  miles  from  the  fort.  One  or 
the  other  was  generally  our  destination.  If  we 
passed  out  by  the  smaller  gate  we  crossed  a 
charming  piece  of  broken  ground,  dotted  over 
with  groups  of  palms,  and  solitary  trees  of  pro- 
digious growth.  There  was,  for  instance,  the 
mango,  so  like  the  Spanish  chestnut,  the  banyan, 
and  others  of  the  fig  tribe,  but  most  beautiful 
of  all  were  the  great  trembling  clumps  of  bam- 
boo, vestiges  of  the  thick  jungle  from  which  the 
place  takes  its  name,  Belgaum  signifying  Bam- 
boo Town.  These  canes  are  so  hard  that  they 
can  with  difficulty  be  cut,  and  some  of  them 
contain  so  much  silica  that  upon  striking  them 
with  a  steel  sparks  are  produced.  They  serve 
a  hundred  purposes,  amongst  others  those  of 
physic-bottles  and  pens,  and  replace  the  whale- 
bone used  in  ladies'  dresses.  Beyond  the  town 
the  plains  are  upon  a  larger  scale.  The  single 
trees  were  replaced  by  venerable  groves,  with 
gnarled  and  far-stretching  branches,  which  the 
the  natives  call  topes.  Sometimes  their  boles 
are  hollow,  or  curiously  twisted  and  distorted. 
In  their  solemn  shade  rose  Hindoo  temples  and 

THE  dheer's  well.  269 

altars,  Mahomedan  mosques,  and  here  and  there 
a  Dharam  Sala  (Dharam  is  a  Sanskrit  word  of 
many  meanings,  in  this  instance  signifying  hall). 
These  places  of  refuge  are  open  to  travellers  of 
every  rank  and  creed,  who  have  nothing  to  do 
but  to  mount  the  wide  steps,  throw  down  their 
few  possessions  under  the  groined  corridor,  or 
seek  the  deeper  gloom  of  the  Sala.  Some  of 
them  are  handsome  buildings,  either  erected  by 
the  neighbouring  townspeople,  or  built  by  pri- 
vate individuals,  who  thus  endeavour  to  work 
out  their  salvation  in  another  state  of  existence 
into  which  they  are  to  be  introduced  by  a  new 
birth.  There  is  always  a  well  near  at  hand, 
often  a  tank,  and  sometimes  they  are  very 
picturesque  objects.  In  Indian  romances  the 
Dharam  Sala  is  the  theatre  of  all  sorts  of  strange 
events  and  queer  encounters,  and  when  I  looked 
upon  the  different  groups  of  people  I  used  to 
wonder  if  they  too  had  pathetic  tales  to  tell,  or 
stirring  events  to  recount.  In  unfrequented 
places  the  Dharam  Sala  is  a  mere  mud  hut. 

Before  the  camp  is  reached  we  pass  the 
Dheer's  well,  which,  although  now  dry,  is  care- 
fully preserved  as  a  relic  of  ancient  times,  when 
the  present  town  of  Belgaum  was  not.  It  is  to 
this  spot  that  the  secret  passage  from  the  fort 
is  said  to  lead — why,  no  one  can  tell.     Behind  it 

270       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

•were  some  comfortable  bungalows,  with  hand- 
some gardens,  shaded  by  some  trees.  To  the 
right  rose  the  Edgar,  where  on  certain  days  the 
Mahomedans  worship ;  and  then  the  large  Pro- 
testant church.  The  latter  is  built  of  brick, 
and  not  badly  designed,  but,  alas  !  its  founda- 
tions are  imperfect.  Yet  it  is  quite  a  new  build- 
ing, and  cost  a  vast  sum  of  money.  A  Scotch 
church,  a  small  establishment  of  teaching  sisters, 
and  two  Roman  Catholic  chapels,  cluster  to- 
gether in  amity,  the  latter  being  a  branch  from 
the  establishment  at  Bombay,  and  the  officiating 
priests,  who  are  English  gentlemen,  exceedingly 

At  a  short  distance  from  the  town,  in  an  ob- 
scure spot,  good  men  have  established  a  small 
refuge  for  lepers,  in  which  the  unfortunate 
creatures,  who  have  generally  very  large  appe- 
tites, are  fed,  cleansed,  and  taught  a  little. 
Such  institutions  are  now  springing  up  in  many 
towns,  but  it  is  not  long  since  many  of  these 
miserable  beings  were  secretly  burnt,  and  even 
buried  alive  by  their  fellow-men,  and  even  now 
numbers  of  these  pariahs  drag  their  weary  limbs 
to  some  sacred  stream,  the  Ganges,  if  possible, 
and  drown  themselves,  fully  persuaded  that  by 
so  doing  they  ensure  themselves  a  healthy  body 
in  the  next  sphere  of  existence.     At  some  dis- 


tance  there  was  another  Roman  Catholic  edifice, 
under  the  sway  of  the  Archbishop  of  Goa,  the 
priests  of  which  were  very  jealous  of  their 
English  brethren.  We  were  told  by  our  Portu- 
guese servants  that  it  would  be  considered  an 
offence  on  their  parts  if  they  held  any  communi- 
cation with  the  English  Roman  Catholic  clergy. 

The  camp  is  backed  by  long  lines  of  magnifi- 
cent barracks,  a  region  of  bungalows  and  mess- 
rooms — a  kind  of  Indian  St.  John's  Wood,  a 
labyrinth  of  fine  broad  red  roads,  beautiful  gar- 
dens, and  green  compounds,  to  scarcely  one  of 
which  the  entrance  was  not  guarded  by  a  fine 
pair  of  curiously  carved  Jain  pillars — alas ! 
whitewashed — which  had  stood  for  centuries 
side  by  side  in  some  sacred  temple,  until  it  had 
been  despoiled  by  the  iconoclast  Mahomedans. 
These  bungalows  are  the  property  of  private 
individuals,  but  are  subject  to  certain  regula- 
tions, being  under  the  authority  of  military 
rule,  and  no  civilian  can  set  up  his  household 
gods  in  one  of  them,  if  it  is  required  for  an  officer. 
When  a  new  regiment  arrives  great  are  the 
heart-burnings,  and  the  frequent  changes  always 
reminded  me  of  a  game  at  u  My  ladies'  toilette." 

Some  of  the  steep  roads  about  this  region 
were  shaded  by  beautiful  timber-trees,  which 
frequently   met  overhead.     At  certain  seasons 


their  beauty  was  enhanced  by  the  parasites  which 
cling  to  them,  among  which  were  many  orchids. 
The  vegetation  is  somewhat  different  from 
that  in  the  fort.  The  wood  of  the  useful  teak, 
which  here  spreads  its  great  leaves,  is  as  dur- 
able as  that  of  oak,  which  it  resembles  in  grain, 
but  the  colour  is  much  paler.  It  bears  a  re- 
markable blossom,  the  flowers  growing  in  long 
spikes,  and  giving  a  grey  hue  to  the  tree.  There 
was  also  the  jack-tree,  most  valuable  for  its 
hard  wood,  which  attains  a  great  height,  and 
roots  itself  firmly  in  the  earth,  with  the  evident 
intention  of  standing  for  centuries.  The  fruit 
grows  upon  stout  foot-stalks,  and  projects  from 
the  trunk  and  thickest  branches.  Oddly 
enough,  the  position  of  the  fruit  varies  with  the 
age  of  the  tree,  being  borne  first  on  the 
branches,  then  on  the  trunk,  and  in  old  trees 
on  the  roots.  When  the  latter  is  the  case,  the 
fruit  bursts  through  the  earth  and  discloses 
itself,  and  is  considered  to  possess  superior 
flavour.  When  half  grown,  the  fruit  sus- 
pended from  the  branches  is  of  a  ruddy  brown, 
and  at  a  little  distance  resemble  foxes'  brushes. 
When  full-grown,  the  coarse  rind  becomes 
green.  An  average-sized  jack  fruit  weighs 
forty  pounds.  There  were  many  splendid 
jungle  creepers,  slightly  coarse  in  substance,  if 


examined,  but  remarkable  for  their  vigour  and 
glorious  colour,  such  as  the  trumpet-creeper, 
an  orange  red ;  one  with  a  beautiful  lilac  flower, 
the  name  of  which  I  never  learnt ;  and  the  more 
delicate  red  purple  bougainville,  more  leafy, 
however,  and  not  so  vivid  in  hue  as  in  Algeria, 
where  the  climate  appears  to  suit  it  better. 

The  drives  about  the  camp  were  charming ; 
we  gave  home  names  to  the  bits  of  blue  country, 
which,  framed  at  the  end  of  long  avenues, 
looked  so  far  away.  There  was  the  hill  of 
Jellergur,  rising  all  solitary  from  the  plain,  like 
the  lone  Soracte — that  was  our  Italian  view. 
To  the  east  was  disclosed  a  blue  ridge  of  hill, 
with  rich,  far-stretching  woods  at  its  feet — Mal- 
vern from  the  Ledbury  Hills ;  and,  turning  to 
the  west,  the  rising  forest  and  the  purple  peaks 
made  us  sigh  for  the  old  halls  of  our  kinsfolk.    - 

With  all  its  beauty  and  fresh  breezes,  a  resi- 
dence in  the  camp  has  some  drawbacks,  particu- 
larly in  being  exposed  to  the  utmost  fury  of 
the  monsoon,  and  because  the  houses,  built  when 
Belgaum  did  not  belong  to  the  Bombay  Presi- 
dency, are  all  turned  the  wrong  way,  as  far  as 
the  weather  is  concerned,  in  order  to  suit  the 
Madras  monsoon.  Worst  of  all,  there  is  a 
deficiency  of  water.  Many  compounds  have  no 
wells,  and  when  water  has  to  be  fetched,  adieu 

VOL.  I.  T 

274       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

to  all  idea  of  a  really  good  garden,  unless  much 
money  is  spent  upon  it. 

The  broad  road  which  led  from  the  main  gate, 
after  passing  the  tank,  crossed  the  moor.  Look- 
ing back,  a  fine  view  of  the  fort,  with  its  massive 
outworks,  gates,  and  ruined  towers,  was  ob- 
tained, along  with  jungle-clad  hills  to  the  east, 
famous  for  panthers.  There  were  hedges  of 
aloe,  not  the  fine  large  aloe,  or  striped  or  blue 
tinged,  so  handsome  in  many  countries,  but  the 
sharp,  prickly  plant  known  by  the  name  of 
Adam's  Needle;  and  there  were  numberless 
varieties  of  the  acacia,  some  of  them  with 
spikes  of  white  flowers,  others  yellow,  one  a 
small-leafed  tree,  bearing  bunches  of  gold,  like 
buttercups.  The  most  remarkable  variety  was 
a  tree  which  bore  clusters  of  a  cream-coloured 
vellum-like  substance,  shaped  like  great  claws. 
Another  kind,  which  was  very  insignificant  in 
appearance,  was  very  fragrant.  Many  of  these 
acacias  go  to  sleep  so  early  that  at  first  I 
imagined  that  they  were  dying  for  want  of  water, 
so  shrivelled  did  they  look ;  but  on  passing  them 
next  morning,  they  were  as  fresh  and  green  as 
possible.  All  the  acacia  tribe  yield  gum,  and  the 
wood  being  very  hard,  it  is  used  for  carts,  and 
for  the  primitive  plough  of  the  country.  Shaped 
into  the  necessary  form  by  the  hand  of  Nature, 


man  has  but  to  cut  down  a  stout  branch  which 
has  an  angular  crook,  fasten  it  behind  his 
bullock,  and  guide  it  across  the  field,  so  that  it 
rips  open  the  earth.  The  great  pods,  which 
render  the  acacia  ugly  when  it  has  dropped  its 
leaves,  and  tend  to  destroy  the  beautiful  effect 
of  the  fresh  foliage,  are  very  useful  to  the 
country  people,  whose  skeleton  cattle  greedily 
devour  them  when  they  can  obtain  no  fresh 

The  commissariat  lines  were  soon  reached. 
Sometimes  when  driving  alone,  I  got  out  to 
look  at  the  animals.  A  few  horses,  but  many 
mules,  are  employed  ;  handsome  creatures  rang- 
ed together  in  open  sheds.  There  were  rows 
of  patient  bullocks  of  the  Brahman  type, 
some  of  them  of  a  beautiful  cream  colour,  with 
glossy  skins  and  very  large,  handsomely-formed 
horns,  which  in  these  animals  are  considered  a 
great  point.  They  came  from  the  north  of 
India,  and  were  worth,  at  least,  sixty  guineas  a 
couple.  Then  there  were  camels,  very  pic- 
turesque to  look  at,  but  as  peevish  and  perverse 
as  these  creatures  are  all  the  world  over.  I  have, 
in  the  Sahara,  seen  camels  whom  their  owners 
have,  for  the  time  being,  been  obliged  to  aban- 
don, in  consequence  of  their  determination  not 
to  move  on.     When  this  occurs,  and  it  is  fre- 


276       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

quently  the  case,  some  indications  of  the  tribe 
to  whom  they  belong  is  affixed  to  them,  and  if 
found  alive  by  another  tribe,  even  if  enemies, 
they  are  bound  to  succour  them  and  forward  the 
animals  to  their  masters.  Such  is  the  etiquette 
of  the  desert. 

Of  course,  the  elephants  were  the  most  interest- 
ing. One  old  fellow  with  great  tusks,  clamped 
round  with  iron  rings,  was  known  all  over  the 
country.  On  one  occasion,  the  Commander-in- 
chief  came,  bringing  with  him  an  addition  of 
twelve  large  animals,  which  were  all  tethered  in 
an  open  yard.  Most  sagaciously  did  they 
twinkle  their  cold,  grey  eyes,  but  woe  to 
anyone  who  touched  their  cakes  or  sugar-cane. 
One  of  these  very  elephants  had  killed  his 
driver  because  the  man  had  cheated  him  of  a 
couple  of  cakes,  of  which  they  get  a  certain 
number  each  day.  These  elephants,  so  exact- 
ing as  to  what  is  their  due,  will  not  take  more 
than  they  consider  themselves  entitled  to.  The 
cakes  that  remained,  when  we  saw  them,  they 
lifted  into  a  basket  or  some  other  receptacle, 
storing  them  for  the  morning  meal,  as  they 
were  about  to  march.  A  good  elephant  costs 
£100,  and  its  yearly  keep  is  reckoned  at  £120.* 

*  Why  it  should  have  been  introduced  I  do  not  remember, 
but  in  one  of  Professor  Max  Midler's  lectures,  there  is  an 


Past  the  commissariat  the  road  split  into  forks, 
one  of  which  turned  towards  the  camp,  another 
crossed  the  breezy  downs,  and  a  third  led  to  the 
point,  a  pleasant  spot  where  people  met  to 
enjoy  the  invigorating  wind  which  invariably 
set  in  as  the  sun  declined.  I  was  fond  of  these 
swelling  wolds,  dotted  over  with  large  trees, 
principally  of  the  fig  order.  Nothing  could  look 
more  picturesque  than  the  great  camping  parties 
which  gathered  around  them  on  their  way  with 
cotton  from  Dharwar  to  Vingorla,  where  it 
would  be  shipped.  Many  and  many  a  bale  we 
saw  there  on  its  way  to  Manchester.  A  great 
deal  of  cotton  is  grown  in  the  district,  but  not 
in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  Belgaum,  the 
soil  not  being  sufficiently  rich.   It  flourishes  best 

amusing  anecdote  respecting  an  elephant.  A  monk  thus 
writes  to  one  of  his  brethren  at  home,  describing  many  won- 
derful things  he  has  seen  in  Rome.  "  You  may  have  heard 
how  the  Pope  did  possess  a  monstrous  beast  called  an  ele- 
phant. The  Pope  did  entertain  for  this  beast  a  very  great 
affection,  and  now  behold  it  is  dead.  When  it  fell  sick,  the 
Pope  called  his  doctors  about  him  in  great  sorrow,  and  said 
to  them,  '  If  it  be  possible  heal  my  elephant.'  Then  they 
gave  the  elephant  a  purge  which  cost  five  hundred  crowns, 
but  it  did  not  avail,  and  so  the  beast  departed,  and  the 
Pope  grieves  much  for  his  elephant,  for  it  was  indeed  a 
miraculous  beast,  with  a  long,  long,  prodigiously  long  nose ; 
and  when  it  saw  the  Pope,  it  kneeled  down  before  him  and 
said,  with  a  terrible  voice,  '  Bar,  bar,  bar !' " 


in  the  deep  black  earth  around  Dharwar,  which 
is  forty  miles  south  of  Belgaum,  and  close  to  the 
frontier  of  Madras.  Until  lately,  the  cotton  in 
our  part  of  the  Deccan  was  raised  from  New 
Orleans  seed  acclimatized.  At  one  time  Egyp- 
tian seed  was  sown,  but  the  quality  produced 
was  too  fine  to  be  remunerative.  The  cultiva- 
tion of  exotic  cotton  is  now  found  to  be  a  mis- 
take, and  its  use  was  everywhere  diminished. 
The  first  crop  from  the  fresh  seed  comes  up  well, 
but  after  that  the  quality  deteriorates.  There 
are  300,000  acres  under  cultivation  in  the 
southern  Mahratta  country.  The  same  soil  will 
only  produce  good  cotton  once  in  three  years. 

The  long  narrow  waggons  or  tumbrils  were 
drawn  up  so  as  to  protect  the  bullocks  from  the 
wind.  Many  of  them  were  handsome  animals, 
in  good  condition,  eating  their  hay  with  serene 
satisfaction.  Some  of  them  had  collars  of  tink- 
ling brass,  or,  possibly,  necklaces  of  cowrie 
shells,  put  round  their  necks,  either  to  ensure 
good  luck,  or  to  scare  away  any  malignant 
goblin  who  might  approach  them  in  the 
deep  shade  of  the  spreading  trees.  I  dearly 
loved  to  pass  these  encampments  at  night,  when 
the  blazing  fires  cast  their  lurid  light  around; 
and  large  caldrons,  set  on  stoves  with  red-hot 
embers  under  them,  were  throwing  off  clouds  of 


white  steam  from  the  seething  rice  or  other 
grain,  whilst  groups  of  wild-looking  men  sat 
clown  in  circles,  beguiling  the  time  by  chant- 
ing some  very  popular  legend  in  a  melancholy 
minor  key.  Sometimes  we  caught  the  fragrant 
odour  of  spices  from  a  cargo  of  ginger,  pepper- 
pods,  or  cardamum  seeds  on  its  way,  like  the 
cotton,  over  the  great  ridge  of  the  Western 
Ghats,  and  down  into  the  Concan  to  the  sea. 

The  favourite  evening  drive  was  to  the  point 
(there  is  a  scandal-point  at  every  station),  where 
all  the  beauty  and  fashion  of  Belgaum  assem- 
bled, in  order  to  discuss  the  news  of  the  day, 
arrange  their  plans  for  anticipated  gaieties,  and 
drink  in  the  cool  evening  breeze.  The  point 
commanded  an  extensive  and  diversified  view. 
The  wide  expanse  of  down  and  moor  was  broken 
by  valleys,  strips  of  wood,  and  little  pools, 
which,  like  mirrors,  reflected  the  beauty  of  the 
sky,  smiling  patches  of  blue,  rosy  red  or  orange, 
purple  or  black,  as  might  be.  We  always 
turned  our  faces  to  the  west,  in  order  to  catch 
the  lingering  daylight.  In  the  far  distance  rose 
the  spectral  ghats,  which  cut  us  off  from  the 
fertile  Concan  and  the  Arabian  Sea.  On  the 
nearer  hills  we  could  mark  the  rough  jungle  by 
which  they  were  crested.  These  hills  abound 
with  game,  big  and  little,  but  they  are  not  only 

280       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

famous  for  the  sport  they  afford,  they  produce 
the  garnet,  or  carbuncle,  as  the  stone  is  called 
when  over  a  certain  size ;  and  in  the  beds  of 
the  mountain  streams  gold-dust  is  found,  not, 
it  is  true,  to  any  large  amount;  but  a  man 
searching  for  it  is  sure  of  gaining  at  least  a 
shilling  a  day.  My  informant — and  he  was  a 
good  geologist — told  me  that  from  the  nature 
of  the  strata,  so  similar  to  that  of  Golconda,  and 
the  crystals  it  contains,  he  doubted  not  that 
diamonds  also  existed  in  it. 

Cheeta  Hill,  as  one  of  this  chain  is  called,  is  a 
very  paradise  for  the  naturalist,  abounding  in 
beautiful  birds,  curious  insects,  lovely  ferns, 
rare  orchids,  and  curious  pitcher-plants.  Alas ! 
snakes  are  also  plentiful,  and  at  certain  seasons 
the  deep  jungle  is  most  unwholesome.  There  is 
a  race-course  near  the  point,  but  nothing  had 
been  stirring  on  it  lately.  In  an  Indian  station 
the  amusements  vary  according  to  the  pluck 
and  purses  of  the  officers  stationed  in  it.  A 
year  or  two  ago  a  good  pack  of  hounds  was 
kept  up.  The  sport  was  excellent,  the  country 
open,  and  there  was  plenty  of  foxes,  to  say  no- 
thing of  the  jackals,  which  afford  good  running. 

During  the  previous  monsoon,  a  gentleman 
met  with  a  strange  adventure  near  the  point. 
As  he  was  passing  along  in  his  dog-cart,  to  his 


surprise  he  saw  something  splashing  about  in  a 
puddle  by  the  side  of  the  road,  and  on  examina- 
tion found  that  it  was  a  young  alligator.  He 
got  it  carried  to  his  quarters,  where  it  was 
quickly  provided  with  the  largest  tub  the  camp 
could  supply,  where,  however,  the  creature  only 
lived  for  two  or  three  days.  Alligators  have 
been  known  to  travel  overland  for  considerable 
distances,  and  this  specimen  was  supposed  to 
have  come  from  the  Falls  of  Gokdk,  forty  miles 
off,  where  they  abound.  But  we  afterwards 
heard  that  there  were  several  in  the  tank,  so 
perhaps  after  all  he  was  only  out  upon  a  short 
exploring  expedition. 

The  climate  of  Belgaum  is  delightful.  In  the 
middle  of  the  day,  during  the  cold  weather,  it 
was  quite  exceptional  if  the  thermometor  rose 
above  seventy  degrees ;  and  it  was  equally  so 
if  it  rose  above  ninety  degrees  during  the  hot 
season.  The  evenings  and  nights  were  almost 
invariably  cool,  occasionally  cold.  I  am  speak- 
ing of  the  temperature  of  a  large  room  shaded 
from  the  sun,  but  never  closed.  Still  the 
climate  is  undoubtedly  trying,  on  account  of 
the  sudden  change  which  takes  place  shortly 
before  sunset,  when  the  hot  wind  which  travels 
over  the  great  plains  of  India  ceases  to  blow, 
and  is  succeeded  by  the  cool  breeze,  sometimes 


very  strong,  which  has  passed  for  thousands  of 
miles  over  the  Indian  Ocean.  In  five  minutes 
there  will  sometimes  be  a  difference  of  seven- 
teen degrees.  During  the  three  months'  mon- 
soon there  were  occasional  breaks  of  a  few 
days,  when  the  weather  was  perfect,  the 
temperature  being  cool,  the  air  clear,  and  ten- 
derly bright.  We  used  to  liken  it  to  that  of  a 
North-country  September  in  England  ;  but  even 
in  Western  India  there  was  no  escaping  the 
dreary  influence  of  sullen  November.  This  was 
our  Winter.  Then  the  trees  looked  dead,  and 
an  east  wind  set  in,  not  exactly  cold,  but  so 
searching  that  it  found  out  every  sensitive  part 
of  the  body,  and  dried  the  skin  like  frost.  This 
wind  is  very  fatal  to  animals,  especially  to 
horses  and  dogs ;  nor  is  it  less  dangerous  to 
man.  "  A  stroke  of  the  wind,"  as  it  is  called, 
produces  paralysis,  from  which  many  people 
never  recover.  At  this  season  all  windows 
which  look  towards  the  east  are  closed.  The 
days  were  certainly  unpleasant.  The  angry 
sun  was  seldom  seen  save  when,  huge  and 
fiery,  it  sank  down  in  a  horizon  of  dull,  but 
fervid  orange  red. 

By  way  of  compensation  the  heavens  at  night 
were,  beyond  expression,  grand.  Returning 
home  in  an  evening,  we  had  "  sultry  Sinus," 


the  largest  star  in  the  sky,  flashing  with  ever- 
varying  colour.  Orion,  reclining  on  his  side, 
calmly  regarded  us.  Venus  almost  outshone  the 
moon,  and  when  the  moon  was  full,  it  rose 
with  a  flush  of  silvery  rose-colour,  fainter,  but 
as  fine  as  the  glow  which  heralds  in  the  sun. 
As  time  went  on,  Orion  rose  upon  his  feet,  and 
the  Southern  Cross  came  slanting  above  the 
horizon  ;  but  when  Orion  was  sprawling  at  the 
zenith,  then  that  most  striking  and  brilliant  of 
constellations  stood  erect.  In  this  part  of  the 
world  the  latest  sunsets  occur  at  the  end  of 
June  and  the  beginning  of  July,  when,  for 
several  days,  the  luminary  sets  at  forty-one 
minutes  past  six.  The  earliest  are  at  the  end 
of  November  and  the  beginning  of  December, 
when  the  sun  sinks  below  the  horizon  at  twenty- 
two  minutes  past  five  (Bombay  time). 

There  is  no  evening  like  the  evening  which 
succeeds  an  English  Summer's  day.  In  the 
North  of  Europe  they  are  deferred  too  long. 
It  is  unpleasant  to  go  to  bed  like  a  naughty 
child,  with  the  light  in  one's  eyes,  but  the 
Indian  night  closes  in  too  soon.  There  are  no 
violet  eves,  there  is  no  gloaming,  the  great  orb 
disappears  behind  the  distant  hills  whose  out- 
lines sharpen  and  grow  black,  cut  for  a  moment 
against    a    glowing   background,    some    large 

284       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

star  straggles  to  appear,  the  sky  grows  green, 
the  fells  purple,  and  the  landscape  grey.  You 
are  taken  by  surprise,  for  you  are  scarcely 
able  to  distinguish  the  features  of  the  friend 
you  are  talking  with.  You  hurriedly  shake  hands 
with  him,  there  is  a  general  flutter,  horse-cloths 
are  rolled  up  (all  the  year  round  the  horses  wear 
their  fules  whilst  standing  still),  lamps  are 
lighted,  and  away  you  go  over  the  dark  moors. 
The  band-stand,  where  the  regiments  take  it 
in  turns  to  play,  is  another  general  gathering- 
place.  For  one  half  of  the  year  the  effect  of  the 
Grecian  building  in  which  the  performance  takes 
place  is  marred  by  the  matting  with  which  it 
is  necessary  to  shelter  it  from  sun  and  storm. 
It  is  set  down  on  a  pleasant  moor,  with  long 
lines  of  barracks  in  the  background.  Twice 
every  week  the  little  wrorld  repaired  to  this 
spot.  Bullock-carts  come  full  of  children,  little 
things  in  different  stages  of  growth,  the  lowest 
being  a  tiny  creature  in  robes  of  white,  who 
get  out  with  their  tall,  robust  ayahs,  gay 
in  scarlet  vests,  white  savis,  and  gold  orna- 
ments, talkative  and  bold.  They  file  off  with 
the  elder  children  under  their  wings,  to  have 
their  gossip,  whilst  the  muslin  bundle  follows, 
carried — oh  !  so  carefully — by  a  tall,  clark  man, 
who  keeps  the  lace  veil  over  its  face,  and  re- 


gards  it  tenderly.  Meanwhile  the  little  folks 
kiss  and  quarrel,  and  talk  over  their  magic- 
lantern  parties,  whilst  their  parents  dwell  upon 
the  past  delights  of  ball  or  Badminton. 

And  then  the  dogs,  they  composed  a  society 
of  their  own,  and  I  have  no  doubt  that  then- 
reflections  were  as  sensible,  if  less  artificial,  than 
those  of  their  so-called  betters.  There  were 
the  military  dogs,  many  of  which  were  of  the 
bull-dog  order.  The  younger  the  master  the 
more  hideous  the  pet ;  some  of  them  being, 
indeed,  of  priceless  ugliness — perfect  gems  in 
their  way.  There  was  the  collector's  dog,  long- 
legged  and  lean,  looking  mildly  at  the  world 
through  half-closed  eyes.  He  was  a  gentle- 
manly dog.  The  judge's  animal  was  broad- 
chested,  round-headed,  and  clever,  a  good  fel- 
low, although  he  growled,  and  now  and  then 
responded  to  a  pat  by  a  snap.  He  never  meant 
to  hurt,  it  was  his  way.  The  Padre's  dogs 
were  intellectual  and  hungry.  The  canine 
civilians  varied  in  appearance  and  character, 
some  of  them  being  stumpy  and  obese,  with 
projecting  teeth,  and  white  trimmings  to  their 
faces,  and  were  inclined  to  be  uppish  ;  but  Mabel 
— I  ought  to  have  mentioned  that  distinguished 
member  of  the  Royal  Geographical  Society  first 
of  all — she   was   military.      Though  young  in 

286  31 Y  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

years,  Mabel's  brow  was  wrinkled  by  travel  and 
by  thought.  When  her  black  lip  curled  with 
scorn  at  the  ignorance  displayed  by  her  com- 
panions, it  disclosed  sharp  fangs  ;  but  would  not 
the  gentlest  temper  ever  possessed  by  man  or 
beast  have  been  soured,  had  its  owner  been 
obliged  to  trot  in  puppyhood  two  thousand 
miles  over  the  burning  sands  of  Africa.  As  for 
Grouse  and  Drake,  they  also  had  seen  the  world, 
and  sitting  down  in  the  attitude  of  sphinxes, 
they  looked  on  and  marvelled  at  the  airs  and 
graces  of  their  juniors.  Bustle  snuffed  about 
with  a  divided  mind.  He  delighted  in  the 
society  of  ladies,  but  then  there  were  chameleons 
to  hunt.  Once  upon  this  very  spot  had  he 
chased  and  eaten  one  of  these  creatures,  and 
never  had  he  forgotten  the  exquisite  morsel. 
Let  none  of  my  four-legged  friends  be  angry  at 
this  allusion  to  them.  Had  I  not  regarded 
them  with  favour,  I  should  have  left  them  un- 
noticed, for  I  had  nothing  to  do  with  curs. 

Occasionally  one  or  two  native  chiefs  honoured 
the  band  with  their  presence.  There  was  Jam- 
bottee  (called,  like  a  highland  proprietor,  by 
the  name  of  his  territory),  who  belonged  to  the 
Jeunesse  Doree  of  Western  India,  and  aped 
the  European.  He  came  upon  the  ground  in  an 
equipage  which  he  had  purchased   from  a  de- 


parted  brigadier — a  dirty  carriage  and  ill- 
groomed  horses ;  but  he  did  not  drive  them 
badly.  He  was  quite  a  youth  ;  so  much  that  his 
face,  had  it  been  white,  might  have  been  called 
chubby ;  but,  as  it  was,  its  dusky  hue  was  relieved 
by  the  great,  soft,  intelligent  eyes.  His  costume 
was  most  remarkable,  consisting,  to  begin  with, 
of  his  dandy  half-high  patent  leather  shoes,  of 
grey-ribbed  stockings,  of  so  precise  a  fit  that  he 
must  have  sent  a  model  of  his  calfless  leg  to 
Nottingham,  gartered  under  the  knee,  and 
mounting  up,  until  they  disappeared  under  the 
folds  of  a  small  cotton  sheet  (a  Duthie  cloth), 
which  was  wound  round  his  body  ;  his  white 
waistcoat  and  jacket,  resembling  those  of  a 
garcon  in  a  cafe ;  and  lastly  his  Eastern  turban, 
sometimes  made  of  soft  pink  woollen,  of  the 
hue  which  is  always  associated  with  raspberry 
ice,  at  others  consisting  of  enormous  lengths  of 
soft  muslin,  red,  chocolate,  or  blue  striped  with 
gold,  artistically  wound  into  innumerable  folds, 
and  put  on  with  a  slight  inclination  to  the  left 
ear.  This  young  gentleman  was  tolerably 
educated,  and  could  read  and  write  with 
facility.  He  was  not  very  rich,  his  estates  being 
said  to  bring  him  in  about  £5000  a  year.  I 
was  somewhat  curious  about  this  youth,  and 
one   day   asked  a  friend  who  was  a  little   ac- 

288       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

quainted  with  him  why  he  did  not  reside  at 
Jambottee,  which  is  a  tolerably  large  town. 
"  Probably  because  he  is  afraid  of  being  poison- 
ed," was  the  reply.  "  If  you  inquire,  you  will 
find  that  most  of  the  chiefs  in  this  part  of  the 
country  are  young ;  a  family  of  means  like, 
above  all  things,  to  have  charge  of  a  youthful 
heir,  by  whom  they  manage  to  get  pretty  pick- 
ings. I  was  in  a  native  state  only  a  few  months 
ago  where  there  is  no  doubt  that  the  boyish 
chief,  who  died  suddenly,  and  was  burnt  before 
the  British  authorities  were  informed  of  the 
event,  Avas  poisoned."  Poor  Jambottee !  I 
looked  with  commiseration  at  his  smooth  round 

"What  does  he  do  all  day?  What  is  his 
home  life  V  I  demanded. 

My  friend  laughed.  "  Probably  a  couple  of 
hours  ago  he  was  sitting  all  but  naked  upon 
the  floor,  ladling  melted  ghiinto  his  mouth  with 
one  hand,  and  throwing  rice  into  it  with  the 
other."  I  looked  horrified.  "And  when  he 
goes  home  he  will  most  likely  shut  himself  up 
along  with  his  prime  minister,  and  drink  arrack 
until  the  small  hours.  Such  is  the  life  of  many 
a  chief."     Alas  for  Jambottee ! 

Sometimes  the  moon  would  rise  before  we 
were  scattered  by  the  "  The  British  Grenadier," 


and  the  succeeding  strains  of  the  National 
Anthem.  First  it  was  but  a  tiny  crescent, 
scarcely  visible  in  the  after-glow,  but  as  it 
waxed  larger  and  larger  the  more  delightful 
grew  the  homeward  drive,  which  lay  for  the 
most  part  under  tall  trees.  Such  a  soft  light 
fell  upon  the  swelling  hills  and  dark  groves 
that  one  could  count  every  trembling  leaf  in  the 
great  bouquets  of  bamboo.  The  moonlight, 
indeed,  we  agreed,  was,  in  this  latitude,  not 
so  positively  bright  as  in  our  own  country ; 
the  shadows  thrown  were  not  so  black  ;  the 
lines  which  marked  out  landscape,  mosque,  and 
temple  not  so  sharp ;  but  the  whole  atmosphere 
was  alight  with  a  gentle  glow,  which  was 
exquisitely  beautiful. 

On  the  eve  of  one  full  moon,  book  in  hand,  I 
left  the  drawing-room,  and  sauntered  into  the 
maidan,  where  the  Pir's  tomb  stood,  and,  out  of 
curiosity,  I  looked  at  the  print,  which  I  found  I 
could  read  with  ease.  The  old  fort  by  moon- 
light was  wonderfully  picturesque ;  and  some- 
times in  these  glorious  evenings  we  mounted  the 
ramparts,  or  crept  through  the  ancient  Jaina 
temples,  in  which  the  shadowy  gods  appeared 
to  regard  us  sternly. 

VOL.  I.  U 



Old  Mosque — The  Nag,  or  Cobra  Tank — Shsirpur — Popu- 
lation — Jewell  ers — Curiosities — Sacred  Stones — An- 
cient Pedigrees — Thugs — Garden  Parties — Travelling 
Merchants — Men  from  the  Cannara  Jungles — Plants 
and  Tame  Animals  brought  for  sale — Conjurers  and 
Snake-charmers — Indian  Jugglers  puzzled — A  Charm 
against  Violence  —  Mahomedan  Burying-places  — 
Amusements  of  the  Soldiers — Native  Troops — My 
First  Christmas  in  India. 

WE  occasionally  visited  some  interesting 
spot  in  the  neighbourhood,  and  one  day 
drove  to  a  place  with  a  very  long  name,  which 
I  have  forgotten.  The  hard  metal  road,  up 
and  down  hill,  was  a  severe  tug  for  the  horses. 
Our  object  was  to  see  an  old  mosque,  and  one 
of  the  underground  reservoirs  peculiar  to  India. 
In  some  parts  of  the  country  they  are  works  of 
considerable  magnificence,  but  this  was  a  very 
humble  specimen  of  the  kind.  Although  it  was 
said  to  be  very  ancient,  and  had  once  been 
the   nucleus  of  a  town   of  some   local  impor- 

OLD  MOSQUE.  291 

tance,  the  only  remains  were  a  cluster  of  mud 
hovels.     An  elderly  man,  pointing  to  the  -well, 

remarked  to  G that  it  was  very  old.     A 

wide  flight  of  steps,  covered  in,  conducted  us 
to  a  broad  landing-place,  with  a  stone  screen, 
and  a  double  set  of  steps  led  to  the  deep  black 
pool,  while  overhead  were  the  remains  of  an 
arched  roof.  It  was  an  oblong  building,  with 
two  stories  of  galleries  running  round  it,  orna- 
mented by  deep  niches  formed  in  the  wall,  the 
largest  of  which  faced  the  stairs.  When  these 
were  set  with  idols,  it  must,  in  the  shadowy 
twilight,  have  been  an  awe-inspiring  place,  and 
the  effect  still  more  curious  if  brilliantly  lighted 
up,  and  tilled  with  worshippers. 

The  mosque,  which  was  time-worn,  had,  in 
our  opinion,  originally  been  a  Jain  temple. 
The  Mahomedans  were  in  the  habit  of  taking 
possession  of  such  buildings,  and  adapting  them 
to  their  own  points  of  the  compass,  to  fit  them 
for  the  celebration  of  their  own  worship.  Many 
people  may  remember  the  crooked  matting  and 
oddly- placed  pulpits  in  St.  Sophia. 

On  the  other  side  of  the  present  Belgaum, 
there  was  an  open  tank,  called  the  Nag,  or 
Cobra-tank,  near  which  some  irregular  mounds 
marked  the  site  of  the  older  town.  The  country 
here  was  flooded  during  the  rains,  when  it  be- 

u  2 


came  brilliantly  green  with  the  springing  rice. 
A  raised  road  led  to  Dhorwar,  a  military  station 
about  forty  miles  south,  on  the  confines  of  the 
Madras  Presidency,  and  near  it  began  the  great 
Cannara  jungles,  which  stretch  along  for  up- 
wards of  three  hundred  miles. 

Sometimes  we  drove  on  this  solitary  road  for 
the  sake  of  the  dogs,  when  the  great  twin 
brothers,  and  Bustle  (busiest  of  all)  were  in 
their  element,  splashing  in  and  out  of  the  lakes 
and  pools  after  rats  and  bandicoots.  The  town 
of  Sharpur*  lay  in  this  direction,  unseen,  but 
very  near  the  road,  its  low  sloping  roofs  quite 
hidden  by  trees,  which  swept  down  to  the  very 
ground.  Sharpur  is  a  place  of  some  interest, 
and  belongs  to  a  native  chief,  whom  we  some- 
times encountered,  driving  a  ricketty  old  car- 
riage, with  two  gora-wallees  behind,  one  of 
whom  was  tall,  and  wore  a  white  turban,  while 
the  other  was  small,  with  a  red  covering  to  his 
head.  On  State  occasions  he  was  followed  by 
a  guard  of  seven  or  eight  men,  with  blunder- 
busses, arrayed  in  dirty  white  cotton,  who 
scrambled  along  on  tattoos.  The  walls  of  the 
town,  which  at  no  distant  period  had  been  in 
complete  repair,  had  at  each  end  an  arched 
gateway,  flanked  by  stout  round  battlemented 

*  Sharpur  means  King's-town. 

SHARPUR.  293 

towers,  pierced  with  narrow  slits  for  jangals. 
I  used  to  fancy  that  the  town  establishment  of 
the  Balowtry  and  Alowtry  would  be  found  very 
perfect  in  Sharpur,  the  place  had  such  an  old- 
world  look.  There  were  some  wide,  suburban- 
looking  streets,  lined  by  houses,  which  were 
nearly  completely  closed,  though  one  occasion- 
ally caught  a  glimpse  into  a  large  dim  court- 
yard. Under  the  verandahs,  which  were  very 
wide  and  long,  the  women  were  employed  in 
weaving  savis,  and  sorting  and  winding  the  bril- 
liant silks  with  which  they  were  to  be  striped. 
A  few  children,  with  entire  caps  of  fresh  flowers, 
and  ornaments  strange  to  me,  would  roll  about 
in  the  dust  along  with  the  dogs  and  a  few 
scraggy  fowls  (natives  have  a  prejudice  against 
keeping  poultry). 

Along  the  principal  street  there  flowed  an 
endless  stream  of  men  with  very  large  turbans, 
and  all  in  white.  The  primitive  population  of 
this  Hindoo  town  were  Lyngates,  and  there 
was  none  of  the  restless  mixture  of  races  which 
compose  that  of  Belgaum.  Even  my  unprac- 
tised eye  could  perceive  that  the  tall  handsome 
men,  who  walked  calmly  along  with  dignified 
gait,  and  complexions  of  tender  brown,  were  of 
higher  caste  than  those  I  had  been  in  the  habit 
of  regarding. 


The  people  of  Sharp ur,  which  is  a  rich  place, 
deal  in  pearls  and  precious  stones,  and  work  in 
gold     and   silver,    making    not    only   personal 
ornaments  of  handsome  design,  but   supplying 
half  Western  India  with  gods  and  goddesses, 
and   driving  a   gainful   trade  as    bankers    and 
money-lenders.      The      improvident      Hindoo, 
though  he   will   not   part   with   his   land,  will 
mortgage    it    to    its    utmost    value,   and    the 
expenses  incurred  at  marriage  festivals  and  on 
the  numerous  holidays  frequently  plunge  him 
into  difficulties  which  not  only  last  for  his  own 
life,  but  embarrass   his   son,    who,    by   ancient 
Hindoo  custom,  is   answerable   for  his  father's 
debts.       It    was    the    habit     of    the    sowars, 
as   the    goldsmiths    are   called,   to  bear   their 
wealth  upon  their  persons  ;  and  those  who  wish 
to  see  pearl  earrings  and  gold  bangles,  must  go 
to  Sharpur,  where  I  envied  many  a  young  man 
his  wristlets. 

One  of  the  curiosities  of  the  place  is  a  mosque, 
a  handsome  building,  which  has  never  been 
roofed  in,  and  was  commenced  just  when  the 
Mahomedan  power  received  its  death-blow. 
There  lie  the  clean-cut  white  stones,  just  as 
they  were  left  by  the  masons,  the  pillared  aisles, 
weather-stained  and  falling  into  ruins.  The 
sacred   Hindoo   buildings   were   assembled  to- 


gether  in  one  particular  part  of  the  town.  On 
one  side  of  the  street  was  a  lofty,  open  Linga 
shrine,  and  on  the  opposite  side,  at  a  little  dis- 
tance from  each  other,  were  three  long  and 
lofty  halls,  into  which  the  light  of  day  was 
only  admitted  through  the  curiously-carved 
high  and  red-stained  doorways,  which  opened 
from  under  verandahs.  We  gazed  into  these, 
but  did  not  attempt  to  enter.  In  one  of  them 
we  observed  a  Lingham,  a  symbol  of  the  power 
of  Shiva,  at  least  twelve  feet  high,  covered  with 
brightly-burnished  metal — probably  a  mixture 
which  is  common  in  a  country  where  there  is 
abundance  of  copper  and  brass.  A  large  black 
stone  figure  had  sole  possession  of  the  second 
hall ;  and  the  third  was  lighted  up  and  filled 
with  worshipping  devotees,  who  were  adoring 
a  many-limbed  black  and  gilded  idol. 

The  palace  of  the  chief  was  a  large,  three- 
storied  wooden  erection,  exceedingly  dirty  and 
dilapidated,  but  about  which  there  was  some 
handsome  carving.  In  driving,  I  often  noticed 
the  painted  and  whitewashed  stones,  set  up  in 
the  fields,  some  of  them  boundary  stones,  others 
placed  about  in  order  to  ensure  good  luck  to 
the  growing  crops.  During  one  particular 
month,  in  returning  home  through  the  gathering 
darkness,  the  bright  light  of  a  small  lantern, 


swung  from  a  pole,  was  always  to  be  seen, 
evidently  so  placed  as  to  shine  upon  some 
object  concealed  in  the  ditch. 

A  trifling  accident  to  one  of  the  horses  near 
this  spot  enabled  me  to  gratify  my  curiosity  as 
to  what  it  might  be.  I  found  three  black 
stones,  placed  one  upon  the  other,  well  greased, 
and  encircled  with  flowers,  the  sacred  filets 
placed  round  them  by  some  procession  of 
peasants — sacrificial  filets,  prescribed  by  the 
gods  of  boundaries,  one  of  whom  is  called  by 
the  long  name  of  Yajnavalkya.  The  melted 
libations  of  ghi,  which  deluged  these  particular 
stones,  had  perhaps  been  rendered  still  more 
acceptable  to  the  powers  above  by  the  addition 
of  a  little  salt.  Salt  is  often  used  in  the 
temples,  but  it  must  be  made  by  solar  evapora- 
tion. The  gods  will  not  be  propitiated  by  the 
article  which  Liverpool  exports  to  their  shores 
at  so  cheap  a  rate.  I  have  been  told  that  the 
ryot,  or  peasant,  if  questioned  as  to  his  feelings 
on  sacred  subjects,  will  declare  that  his  idea  of 
the  proper  way  of  carrying  out  his  religion  is  to 
do  right,  and  to  worship  the  village  god  and 
the  sanctified  stones.  The  owners  of  land 
have  the  greatest  objection  to  part  with  it, 
considering  such  a  step  a  religious  offence,  and 
maintaining  that  it  is  not  theirs  to  dispose  of — 


that  they  are  mere  tenants  of  the  god  to  whom 
it  was  made  over  centuries  ago.  It  is  often 
found  that  the  very  servants  in  your  house 
have  a  pedigree  in  land  which  many  a  rich  man 
in  England  would  give  half  his  wealth  to  pos- 
sess.    A  servant  of  G 's,  in  Sattara,  once 

asked  for  leave  of  absence  in  order  to  settle 
some  family  claims  upon  a  portion  of  land  which 
he  had  inherited,  and  the  judge  who  had 
examined  and  given  his  decision  upon  the  affair, 
told  him  that  the  land  in  question  had  been 
granted  to  the  family  for  military  service  done 
nearly  three  hundred  years  ago.  We  knew 
that  the  puttah-wallee  was  a  gentleman  pos- 
sessed of  landed  property,  because  he  was 
always  in  hot  water  with  regard  to  the  money 
he  had  borrowed  upon  it ;  and  our  malee  used 
to  run  away  to  his  own  village  periodically,  in 

order  to  sow  his  land,  leaving  G lamenting  ; 

but  he  was  generally  pursued  and  brought  back 
by  the  patel  of  the  place. 

We  often  passed  the  long,  low,  white  jail, 
built  on  the  spot  occupied  by  the  English 
during  the  siege,  and  in  which  I  believe  some 
older  building  is  still  embedded.  Close  by, 
on  ground  torn,  cut,  and  disturbed,  rises  an 
obelisk,  and  some  table-tombs,  the  marble 
slabs   of  which,  that   would    have    told    their 


tale,  bad  been  stolen  for  curry-stones.  Tbe 
inscriptions  cut  upon  tbe  pliable  stone  bave  been 
worn  away  by  tbe  action  of  time  and  tbe 
weatber,  but  one  name  survives,  tbat  of  Lieut. 
Dormer,  witb  the  date — 1820,  or  21. 

Some  years  ago  tbis  jail  was  full  of  Thugs, 
wbo  bad  been  tbe  scourge  of  tbe  country  from 
Belgaum  to  Mysore.  One  old  man  among  tbem 
confessed  to  upwards  of  three  hundred  murders, 
and  it  was  from  bis  mouth  that  "  The  Confes- 
sions of  a  Thug  "  were  taken  down.  Some  of 
these  wretched  worshippers  of  the  cruel  Bavani 
used  to  work  in  the  garden  of  the  officer  who 
was  then  at  the  head  of  the  district  police,  and 
he  was  quite  fond  of  relating  their  various  deeds 
of  villainy. 

One  evening,  as  we  were  returning  home,  we 
met  a  procession  of  people  bearing  lanterns,  and 
carrying  a  kind  of  pagoda,  covered  witb  white 
calico,  trimmed  with  bows  and  streamers,  the 
occupant  of  which,  a  dead  Lyngate,  was  taking 
bis  last  ride,  seated  cross-legged,  tbe  position 
in  which  be  was  about  to  be  buried. 

Tbe  society  in  Belgaum  was  tolerably  exten- 
sive— a  great  advantage — as,  after  visits  of  cere- 
mony bad  been  exchanged,  it  left  people  at 
liberty  to  choose  the  companionship  of  kindred 
souls.     The  garrison  was  composed  of  a  battery 


of  artillery,  one  European  and  two  native  regi- 
ments, besides  a  certain  number  of  military  men 
holding  special  appointments,  and  a  good  many 
civilians.  The  knot  of  people  gathered  together 
in  the  fort  might  be  looked  upon  as  residents, 
as  they  were  independent  of  regimental  changes. 
When  I  first  arrived  there  were  a  good  many 
garden-parties,  pleasant  gatherings,  where 
people  met  together  to  play  at  Badminton,  or 
lawn  tennis,  or  to  talk,  and  sip  cool  beverages, 
whilst  listening  to  the  band.  Sometimes  these 
entertainments  would  conclude  with  a  little 
dancing.  One  gallant  bachelor  colonel,  whose 
compound  was  furnished  with  magnificent  trees, 
spent  a  small  fortune  in  hanging  their  gnarled 
boughs  with  lanterns,  the  effect  of  which 
was  very  pretty.  When  the  rains  came  on, 
this  kind  of  society  passed  away,  and  the 
afternoons  wTere  often  enlivened  by  the  arrival 
of  travelling  merchants  from  the  interior  of 
India — cunning  fellows — who  knew  that,  when 
a  second  deluge  seemed  to  be  impending,  people 
were  sure  not  only  to  be  at  home,  but  would  be 
tempted  to  look  at  their  goods,  and  buy  from 
sheer  ennui.  Those  who  dealt  in  the  more  cost!  v 
wares  would  arrive  in  covered  carts,  drawn  by 
reeking  bullocks,  from  which  they  brought  forth 
great  bundles,  which  they  would  open  in  the 


verandah,  spreading  about  their  contents  until  it 
looked  like  a  fancy  bazaar.  They  had  goods 
collected  in  every  part  of  India — shawls  and 
coloured  embroidery,  silks  and  satins,  useful 
washing  silks,  inlaid  boxes,  and  balls  painted 
over  in  the  most  delicate  patterns,  the  parent 
one  as  big  as  a  pummalo,  and  containing  a  pro- 
geny which  gradually  dwindled  in  size  until  the 
last  one  was  little  larger  than  a  pea.  These 
balls  were  irresistible  attractions,  although 
perfectly  useless.  Among  the  other  hetero- 
geneous articles  were  jewels,  silver  filigree, 
fans,  neck  scarfs,  Cora  silk,  tempting  toys,  and 
boxes  of  ivory  letters  neatly  cut,  and  brightly- 
coloured  objects,  some  of  them  curious  and 
strange.  Oh  !  the  temptation  of  such  a  dazzling 
collection  upon  a  wet  day !  How  different  was 
their  liquid  Hindustani  and  soft  voices,  when 
compared  with  the  harsh  Marathi  I  was  accus- 
tomed to  hear!  Rough  people  would  bring 
bison  and  buffalo  horns,  twisted  into  many 
shapes — though  the  natural  form  was  the  best 
— so  highly  polished  that  one's  distorted  image 
was  reflected  from  their  surface.  Some  of  them 
were  delicately  engraved  with  fanciful  designs. 
To  be  of  use,  however,  they  require  to  be 
mounted,  and  they  are  sometimes  set  in  chased 


More  interesting  were  the  savage-looking  men 
who  arrived  with  ferns  and  orchids  from  the 
Cannara  jungles,  which  stretch  their  vast  length 
along  the  Malabar  coast.  Canarese,  Tamil,  and 
Telugu  are  all  spoken  in  Mahratta,  though  quite 
distinct  languages,  and  not  derived  from  Sans- 
krit. These  Canarese  people  were  small  and 
thin,  and  as  black  as  it  was  possible  for  men  to 
be.  They  are  believed  to  be  the  descendants  of 
the  unconquered  aboriginal  tribes  driven  into  the 
jungles  by  the  invading  Aryan  settlers.  It  is 
reckoned  that  the  pre-historic  races  now  scattered 
over  mountains,  or  living  in  far-spreading  forests 
and  deep  jungles,  number  twelve  millions.  In 
every  part  of  India  where  the  soil  has  not  been 
reclaimed,  are  found  relics  of  the  aboriginal 
races,  more  or  less  barbarous.  I  never  saw 
these  wild  beings  without  indulging  in  endless 
speculations  as  to  their  history.* 

*  The  code  of  Manu,  supposed  to  be  written  900  B.C., 
gives  laws  as  to  the  property  the  conquered  aborigines  may 
be  allowed  to  possess  : — 

"  Their  abode  must  be  out  of  towns.  Their  sole  property 
is  to  consist  of  dogs  and  asses.  Their  clothes  should  be 
those  left  by  the  dead.  Their  ornaments  rusty  iron.  They 
must  roam  from  place  to  place.  No  respectable  person 
must  hold  intercourse  with  them.  They  are  to  perform  the 
office  of  executioner  on  all  criminals  condemned  to  death 
by  the  king.  For  this  duty  they  may  retain  the  bedding, 
the  clothes,  and  the  ornaments  of  those  executed." — "Land 
of  the  Vedas."    By  the  Rev.  R.  Percival. 

302       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

The  water-ferns  they  brought  attain  the 
height  of  ten  or  twelve  feet,  and  it  was  neces- 
sary to  put  them  into  pots,  and  sink  them  in 
the  ground.  They  had  also  delicately-swathed 
little  bunches  of  the  gold,  silver,  copper,  lace, 
palm  and  other  ferns.  One  of  them,  the  true 
oak-fern,  is  a  very  curious  production ;  its  root, 
a  great  bit  of  mouldy-looking  wood,  throwing 
up  large,  dead-looking  leaves,  which  shelter  the 
green  fronds.  The  orchids,  lilac  and  white- 
blossomed,  G bound,  along  with  moss,  upon 

the  trees,  and  they  flourished  well.  Other  people 
brought  trained  animals — monkeys,  dogs,  and 
goats,  the  former  generally  got  up  to  represent 
Rajahs  and  their  wives,  and  to  act  little  scenes. 
These  little  creatures  were,  to  all  appearance, 
well  treated,  and  seemed  fond  of  their  masters. 
We  were  also  visited  by  snake-charmers  and 
conjurers,  who  came  with  long  bamboos  on  their 
shoulders,  from  which  dangled  mysteriously- 
filled  baskets.  They  were  accompauied  by 
musicians,  who  played  on  a  fife,  struck  the  tom- 
tom, and  clashed  the  cymbals.  Some  of  their 
feats  were  neatly  done,  but  I  never  myself 
witnessed  anything  wonderful. 

A  friend  of  G 's  puzzled  a  band  of  these 

people,  who  came  to  his  house,  by  playing  them 
a,  trick  which  surprised  them  not  a  little.     It  so 


happened  that  he  had  a  glass  eye,  and  at  the 
end  of  the  performance  he  cried  out — "  Bah ! 
you  shall  see  what  I  can  do.  You  know  no- 
thing !"  Whereupon  he  dexterously  slipped 
out  the  artificial  eye,  and  held  it  towards  them, 
they  looking  on  dumb,  transfixed  with  astonish- 
ment. With  another  sweep  of  the  hand  he  re- 
stored the  eye  to  the  socket,  and  regarded  them 
with  an  air  of  conscious  superiority.  "  Wha  ! 
wha  !  wha !"  they  cried,  tumbling  their  posses- 
sions anyhow  into  the  baskets,  in  their  haste 
to  be  gone.     "  Wonderful !"  and  off  they  set. 

It  did  not  rain  incessantly,  as,  three  or  four 
times  a  week,  we  were  able  to  snatch  a  drive. 
The  gentlemen  amused  themselves  in  many 
ways,  with  whist,  pigeon-shooting,  and  cricket, 
a  tent  being  erected  at  the  latter  for  the  benefit 
of  lady  spectators.  We  frequently  drove  to 
the  ground  where  the  shooting  was  going  on, 

in  order  to  bring  G back,  and  if  he  was  not 

ready,  we  walked  about  the  breezy  down.  At 
a  short  distance  from  the  spot,  sheltered  by 
some  very  old  trees,  were  a  couple  of  ancient 
buildings,  one  of  which,  with  a  low  dome, 
was  probably  the  resting-place  of  some 
holy  Pir.  Like  many  a  Mahomedan  building, 
it  was  freely  marked  with  impressions  of  the 
human   hand,  just  dabbed   with  red   or  white 

304       MY  YEAR  IN  AN  INDIAN  FORT. 

paint,  and  laid  on  the  wall — the  hand,  with  its 
five  fingers,  being  the  symbol  of  despotic  power. 
On  the  outside  of  dwelling-houses  this  figure  is 
supposed  to  act  as  a  charm  against  violence, 
the  dwelling  and  its  inmates  being  placed  under 
the  power  of  an  invincible  hand.  Its  compan- 
ion building  was  also  a  Mahomedan  burial- 
place,  but  it  had  probably  once  been  a  Hindoo 
temple,  for  it  had  a  pyramidal  roof.  Some  say 
that  the  architecture  of  the  Hindoos  originated 
with  the  pyramid,  in  which  form  it  is  certain 
that  the  oldest  pagodas  are  built.  Near  the  door 
there  cropped  out  of  the  sward  a  half-buried 
stone,  on  which  the  soles  of  two  feet  were 
marked ;  and  I  afterwards  found  that  it  was  the 
custom  formerly  to  place  a  memorial  so  en- 
graved upon  the  spot  where  suttee  had  taken 

The  soldiers'  sports,  in  which  some  of  the 
officers  joined,  were  very  amusing.  One  of 
these  was  riding  at  the  ring,  in  which  no  great 
success  was  attained.  The  Yorkshire  farrier, 
who  was  quite  a  character,  and  used  to  get  pro- 
digiously cheered,  rode  at  it  as  if  he  were  going 
to  carry  off  a  ton's  weight  by  sheer  force. 
Some  of  the  young  men  jumped  with  much 
agility,  but  I  do  not  fancy  that  the  highest 
jump   registered,  four  feet  eleven  inches,  was 


anything    remarkable.     No    one     succeeded   in 
picking  up  the  sword  at  full  speed,  but  many 
were  skilful  in  cutting  into  halves  the  oranges 
placed  on  bamboo  posts  as  they  rode  by.     The 
gunnery  was  the  most  interesting  spectacle.    On 
one  occasion  a  gun  was  taken  to  pieces,  put 
together,  and  fired  in   one  minute  and  twenty 
seconds,  which  I  believe  was  considered  to  be 
good  work.     Th  e  game  of  polo  was  frequently 
played  upon  their  maidan  by  the  young  officers 
of  the  Royal  Fusiliers.    Some  of  their  little  Dec- 
can  Tats  were  wonderfully  quick  and  knowing. 
On    moonlight    nights   the    gallant    Colonel 
of  this  regiment  would  allow  his  band  to  play, 
when   the    Christy   Minstrels   belonging    to   it 
would  sing  some  of  their  amusing  songs.     At 
these  merry  gatherings,  the  Irishmen  brought 
their  floor  and  danced  jigs,   and  the  evening's 
entertainment  would  conclude  with  blind-man's 
buff,  played  with    a   will,  and  led   off  by   the 
Colonel,   the  young  officers   being  blinded  by 
grotesque    caps,    which  were   drawn   over  the 
face.     Picnics    also    took   place   by    the   same 
magic  light ;   but   these   entertainments   were, 
somehow  or  other,  not  quite  so  successful.     The 
elders  could  not  double  up  their  legs  comfortably 
upon  the  ground,  and  next  day  there  was  sure  to 
be  trouble  among  the  matrons,  forks  and  spoons 
VOL.  I.  X 


and  plates  having  gone  astray,  fine  napkins 
having  been  exchanged  for  those  of  Dhorwar 
cotton,  and  the  junior  members  of  the  assembly 
were  certain  to  have  caught  cold.  Sometimes 
Penny  Readings,  -which  it  -was  necessary  to 
patronise,  took  place  in  the  barracks,  and  plays 
v.- ere  performed,  deep  tragedies  being  followed 
by  screaming  farces.  "  Lady  Audley's  Secret  " 
was  performed,  the  heroine's  part  being  taken 
by  a  handsome  sergeant's  wife,  and  the  kick 
with  which  she  sent  her  groom  husband  down 
the  well  was  a  sight  worth  seeing. 

Society  in  general  went  in  for  innumerable 
dinner-parties,  and  occasional  balls.  Now  and 
then  a  concert  was  given  in  aid  of  some  charity, 
in  which  the  ladies  of  the  fort  distinguished 
the.  s    bv   their   vocal    and   instrumental 

efforts,  pronounced  by  that  great  authority,  the 
Times  of  India,  "to  be  worthy  of  the  Italian 
Opera. "• 

The  four  months'  rains  passed  very  quickly. 
The  largest  downfall  registered  for  any  single 
month  was  twenty-nine  inches,  and  occurred  in 
July.  The  whole  amount  which  fell  during  the 
monsoon  was  sixtv-two  inches,  a  little  above  the 

..  -age.  The  most  tiresome  duty  of  the  season  ii 
the  perpetual  care  which  it  is  necessary  to  exercise 
in  order  to  prevent  books,  prints,  photograph-. 


wearing  apparel — everything,  in  fact — from  be- 
coming spotted  with  blue  mould,  a  calamity  which 
is  certain  to  befall  them,  if  they  are  put  away. 
Woe  to  the  young  lady  who  does  not  air  her 
ribbons  constantly !  All  clothes  ought,  at  this 
season,  to  be  worn  in  turn.  I  managed  to  pre- 
serve my  gloves  by  a  very  simple  expedient.  I 
impounded  three  French  plum  bottles  (which, 
by-the-by,  I  had  helped  to  empty) — glass  bottles 
made  to  screw,  and  rendered,  by  the  addition  of 
an  Indian-rubber  ring,  perfectly  air-tight.  One 
of  these  I  filled  with  new  gloves  and  put  it 
away  in  a  dry  place  :  another  was  placed  upon 
my  toilette-table  and  received  those  which  were 
in  wear  ;  the  third  I  reserved  for  the  aged  and 
infirm  to  use  in  travelling,  for  I  hold  that 
wearing  gloves  keeps  the  hand  cool. 

After  the  rains,  another  device  for  killing  time 
was  perpetual  Badminton,  for  which  there  was 
a  covered  place  prepared  in  the  camp.  In  the 
fort,  for  the  occasion,  possession  was  taken  of  a 
large  shed,  which,  by-the-by,  had  gone  through 
the  Persian  campaign.  The  courts  were  very 
good,  and  two  tiers  of  empty  boilers  were  s~» 
arranged  as  to  form  seats  which  were  covered 
with  cane  matting.  As  long  as  people  were 
quiet  they  were  comfortable  enough,  but  when 
any  individual    began    to   fidget,   the    boilers 

x  2 


vibrated,  and  a  thrill  ran  through  all  assem- 
bled. At  these  friendly  and  pleasant  meetings, 
each  lady,  in  her  turn,  sent  down  refreshments, 
and  sometimes  large  luncheon  parties  were 

Belgaum  was  obliged  to  get  up    and  shake 
itself  when   the   Commander-in-chief   declared 
his  intention  of  passing  through  it,  during  his 
tour.     The  troops  on   that   occasion   were   re- 
viewed ;  there  were  sham  fights,  and  all  sorts 
of  manoeuvres,    during   which   I,   for   the   first 
time,  saw  a  native  regiment,  one  of  the  finest  in 
the  service — the  2nd  Grenadiers,  lately  arrived 
from   Aden.     This   regiment   held    their    own 
against  fearful   odds.     When  at  Rongaum,  in 
the  year  1818,  they  withstood  the  Mahrattas,  who 
outnumbered  them  ten  to  one.    "  Tired,  hungry, 
wounded,  and  parched  with  thirst,  they  fought 
with  a  gallantry  which  has  never  been  surpass- 
ed," so  say  the  despatches  of  the  day.     The 
Sphinx   is    embroidered    on    their    colours,   in 
memory  of  the  fact  that  they  were  one  of  the 
two  native  regiments  who  served  in  Egypt,  be- 
sides which  they  were  also  engaged  in  the  battle 
of  Kinhee,  in  Persia.     Many  of  the  soldiers,  too, 
have  medals  for  the  part  they  took  in  the  cam- 
paign of  Abyssinia.  They  were  a  remarkably  fine, 
tall  body  of  men  from  the  north  of  India.     In 


full  dress  they  wore  a  neat  little  turban,  appar- 
ently made  of  the  Turkey  sugar  dear  to  one's  in- 
fant heart,  and  ornamented  "with  a  stiff  crimson 
bow.  This  regiment,  for  many  of  its  exploits, 
has  well  deserved  its  new  title,  "  The  Prince 
of  Wales's  Own  Grenadiers." 

I  do  not  know  if  it  is  the  case  in  other  Presi- 
dencies, but,  in  that  of  Bombay,  a  native 
regiment  is  permitted  to  recruit  a  hundred  of  its- 
men  from  other  parts  of  India,  for  the  once 
war-like  Mahrattas  have  turned  to  agriculture* 
and  have  deteriorated  as  soldiers.  To  me,  these 
strangers  appeared  to  be  magnificent  specimens 
of  humanity,  and  I  must  confess  that  I  compared 
their  majestic  gait,  shapely  heads,  fine  features, 
and  flashing  eyes  with  those  of  the  European 
soldiers,  and  to  the  disadvantage  of  the  latter. 
I  made  a  remark  upon  the  subject  to  an  officer 
in  command  of  these  natives.  "  You  are  mis- 
taken," he  said,  "  as  to  their  stature ;  it  is  true 
that  many  of  the  men  from  the  north  and 
south-east  are  splendid  fellows,  but  the  tallest 
man  in  my  regiment  is  but  a  little  above  six 
feet  three  inches — their  wide  pigamas,  flowing 
drapery,  and  picturesque  puggrees  deceive  you 
as  to  their  stature."  These  men  are  allowed  to 
wear  their  native  costumes  out  of  hours,  and 
many  of  them  were  exceedingly  picturesque.     I 


delighted  in  seeing  the  different  races,  and  after 
a  time  I  fancied  myself  able  to  tell  from  whence 
a  man  came,  and  that  principally  from  the 
mode  in  which  his. hair  was  arranged.  Those 
from  the  Punjaub  wore  it  long,  and  turned  up 
into  a  kind  of  chignon  ;  the  Sikhs  parted  theirs 
behind,  and  banded  it  round  the  head.  The 
Jews  shaved  the  hair  from  off  their  temple,  and 
wore  short  crisp  curls  behind  the  ear,  with  no 
gloss  upon  them.  There  are  numbers  of  Jewish 
soldiers,  and  being  generally  men  of  education 
they  are  pretty  sure  to  rise  in  a  regiment. 

One  day  when  the  7th  Royal  Fusiliers  were 
reviewed,  Grouse  and  Drake  chanced  to  be  with 
us,  and,  seeing  the  soldiers  about  to  fire,  they 
rushed  in  behind  a  company,  a  position  from 
which  no  calling  could  induce  them  to  return. 
There  they  stood  with  their  tails  straight,  and 
as  stiff  as  if  cast  in  bronze.  Poor  doggies,  they 
were  quite  confounded,  and  evidently  disap- 
pointed when  they  found  that,  after  the  firing, 
their  eager  anticipations  of  sport  were  reward- 
ed by  the  sight  of  not  even  a  single  bird. 

The  face  of  society  changed  almost  as  much 
as  that  of  nature.  Our  three  regiments  marched 
off,  playing  pathetic  airs  of  adieu  ;  and  familiar 
faces  were  replaced  by  those  of  strangers. 
The    resident  society    also   broke    up    in    the 


Autumn,  but  onlv  for  a  time.  The  collector 
went  on  his  way  with  a  long  train  of  baggage- 
waggons  ;  the  judge,  the  "  up-country  judge," 
disappeared  ;  the  engineer  officers  were  off  to 
their  tanks,  roads,  and  bridges.  The  forest 
department  spread  their  wings  and  flew  to  the 
deep  jungles,  where  they  would  see  many  a 
wild  beast  before  they  met  with  Europeans 
again.  Education  struck  its  tents,  and  the 
chaplains  exchanged  duty  with  brethren  from 

afar,    and,  worst   of  all,   G was  off  with 

hundreds  of  miles  before  him — long  days  upon 
the  Indus  and  its  banks,  with  Aden  in  prospect. 
For  M.  and  myself,  who  were  stationary,  roses 
bloomed,  and  the  garden  blossomed,  but  Christ- 
mas, when  it  stole  on,  appeared,  at  least  to  me, 
very  strange.  We  filled  great  baskets  with 
flowers  and  ferns,  and  sent  them  to  the  good 
teaching  sisters,  for  the  adornment  of  their 
little  chapel  (our  own  churches  being  abundantly 
supplied),  and  endeavoured  to  make  the  season 
as  pleasant  to  the  little  ones  as  it  could  be 
without  their  father. 

On  Christmas  Eve  we  had  a  display  of  such 
fireworks  as  were  permissible  in  the  immediate 
neighbourhood  of  a  powder-magazine  and  an 
arsenal.  There  were  Bengal  lights,  and  crack- 
ers, and  wheels ;  but  the  prettiest  of  all  were 


the  bouquets  of  golden  spray,  with  green  and 
red  flowers,  which  shot  up  from  earthenware 
chatty  pots.  It  was  a  balmy  Summer's  night, 
the  soldiers'  children  came  to  look  on,  and  we 
had  chairs  taken  to  the  meadow  where  the 
display  took  place.  During  the  evening, 
highly-coloured  wooden  toys,  representing 
rajahs  and  ranis,  in  cloth  of  gold,  wild  ani- 
mals, and  tropical  fruits,  kept  arriving — some  of 
them  presents  from  the  servants.  They  were 
not  shown  to  the  children,  who  were  instructed 
to  hang  their  stockings  up,  that  Father  Christ- 
mas might  fill  them  during  the  night ;  and  as 
soon  as  they  were  asleep  a  pretty  scroll,  repre- 
senting a  rosy-red  robin,  singing  with  all  his 
might  out  of  a  snow-flecked  holly  bush,  was  hung 
over  their  breakfast-table. 

Christmas  morning,  with  all  its  surprises  and 
good  wishes,  began  very  early.  We  elders 
had  to  undergo  the  ordeal  after  breakfast  of 
standing  in  the  verandah  whilst  all  the  servants 
came  up  to  make  their  salaams ;  and  M.,  with 
Dick  in  her  arms,  thanked  them  in  an  elo- 
quent speech.  We  also  came  in  for  our 
share  of  good  things.  The  Parsis  sent  tall, 
circular  cakes,  in  form  very  much  resembling 
their  own  towers  of  silence  ;  some  one  else  sent  a 
rare  present  of  rosy  apples  ;  the  brigadier  a  dish 


of  peaches  grown  in  his  garden  ;  and  in  the  course 
of  the  morning  came  a  great  mendiant,  consist- 
ing of  dried  figs,  dates,  almonds,  and  raisins, 
arranged  in  quarters  upon  a  dish  large  enough 
to  have  contained  a  leg  of  mutton,  taking  me 
back  to  my  Paris  days.  For  the  sake  of  "  auld 
lang  syne,"  I  (with  a  little  help  from  the 
children)  ate  steadily  through  that  mendiant. 
We  had  a  merry  dinner,  when  the  chicks  were 
gone  to  roost  (what  a  pleasant  time  it  is  when 
they    are    asleep),    but    could    not    enjoy    it 

thoroughly  in  G 's  absence.     There  was  a 

dance  on  the  last  evening  of  the  year,  and  sc 
ended  my  first  Christmas  in  India. 




c    e 
*  Si 

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